Medical marijuana dispensary proposed for Harvard Avenue

A local group tried to convince some skeptical residents in Brighton last night that 144 Harvard Ave. would be a good place to sell medical marijuana to patients with prescriptions for the drug.

Compassionate Organics did not make the list of 20 proposed operators who have even a slight chance of getting a state dispensary license in Suffolk County, but founder Geoffrey Reilinger told the Brighton Allston Improvement Association that that was because his group didn't have a specific location when applications were due - and now it does.

And Reilinger predicted his non-profit will get onto the state list in part because, unlike the two proposed operators given provisional approval for Boston locations, his group is all local and never lied about getting approval from local residents or elected officials. He spoke last night before about 30 people at an association meeting at the Brighton Elks.

Reilinger said his local roots go deep - he went to both Boston Latin School and BU and that unlike certain other applicants he could name, he's not part of "a slick California or Colorado pot shop" concern.

Reilinger said Harvard Avenue is a good location because it is on or near bus and trolley routes and because the neighborhood voted overwhelmingly for dispensaries. And the specific 2,000-square-foot location is not within 500 feet of any facility where children congregate.

Reilinger said the marijuana would only be sold to people with prescriptions, who need the sort of relief from medical conditions they have failed to get from traditional painkillers. He said he learned the value of marijuana first hand when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996 and nothing else really helped.

The proposed storefront, he said, would be low key and more like a quiet clinic than a traditional store. "No neon pot leaves in the windows," he said.

But skeptical residents worried area college students would easily get prescriptions from money-hungry doctors both locally and in their home towns, stock up on pot and then promptly sell it to their friends. One resident scoffed at the high turnout for dispensaries, saying college students lined up at the Jackson-Mann to vote for easier access to pot.

Others noted the area already has two clinics, one for methadone patients - an argument similar to that made by opponents to a proposed dispensary near Boston Medical Center - and asked why Compassionate Organics didn't look for a location near St. Elizabeth's and the D-14 police station.

"It's a zoo in Allston," one angry man exclaimed. "You can make billions of dollars there."

Association President Anabela Gomes called the proposed location terrible and said Reilinger was wasting the group's time last night because his concern scored so low on the state's initial rankings and that there was no immediate possibility they could get even a provisional license.

Reilinger said he is trying to get local groups behind his proposal to improve its ranking.

Some residents did support the proposal. One said marijuana's already easy to get, so it's unlikely college students would feel the need to try to get a prescription.

Neal Wigetman, owner of Basics Carpet and Furniture on Harvard Avenue, pleaded with residents to abandon their "very narrowminded point of view" that the storefront would become a place for college students to stock up to stoke up and that it would prove an asset both for residents who need the drug for medical reasons and for the street as a whole.

The dispensary would help diversify a business district that is increasingly turning into a monoculture of restaurants, bring a bit more foot traffic and help beautify the area - Reilinger vowed to help with things such as graffiti removal. And unlike other applicants, Compassionate Organics has no political ties, he said.

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Comments

let me fix that for you

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" the list of 20 proposed operators who have even a slight chance of getting a state dispensary license in Suffolk County,"

The list of 20 politically-connected companies, many of whom have former elected officials highly involved, who cashed in on years of political connections both to get licenses and capital.

Fixed.

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Uh-huh...

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But skeptical residents worried area college students would easily get prescriptions from money-hungry doctors both locally and in their home towns, stock up on pot and then promptly sell it to their friends.

As opposed to the way they score weed now?

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I was buying medical pot in

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I was buying medical pot in Allson before medical pot was even on the ballot in Massachusetts.

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Go for it!

The dispensary would help diversify a business district that is increasingly turning into a monoculture of restaurants, bring a bit more foot traffic and help beautify the area

That street sure does need it. Besides, it'd be better than looking at empty storefronts.

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Allston to Pot

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Neal the Wigetman from Wayland/Weston/Sudbury should try cleaning up his own Allston store if he is such a man of the people. If it's a medical facility, why a store front in the middle of a college area. Mr Reillinger's mother was head of the Boston School Committee for years under Mayor Menino--I wonder how he got into Latin School? But I guess that doesn't count for political juice. This proposal is the biggest scam and it's all about Million$$$$$$$$$$ of dollars.

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You are an idiot. If you did

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You are an idiot. If you did your research.... you would find that with his age, and the years she held as chair, there would be no direct relation to her having any sort of influence in getting him into Boston Latin.

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Perfect!

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You've got a big liquor store, the city's best music store Mr Music, plenty of bars and lots of restaurants. Clearly the only thing missing is pot.

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Thanks for the rundown, Adam.

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Thanks for the rundown, Adam. Makes it sound overly negative, though. In fact, Reilinger did receive support from the Allston Civic Association. But perhaps this difference in reception between BAIA and ACA somewhat exposes the rift between Brighton and Allston residents. It would be nice, for a change, if the city respected the fact that these are very different neighborhoods that happen to be clumped together in many discussions.

Did you note if any of the speakers were actually Allston residents, or were they all from Brighton this time?

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Dispicable

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BAIA has a terrible attitude towards development in general, often interrupting speakers and bemoaning their intentions with inaccurate or misguided information. During the last presentation (not about the RMD), the entire room became disinterested and began shuffling and talking amongst themselves. It was clear, though, throughout Geoffrey's presentation, the board had no intention to seriously listen to the proposal and insisted on reopening the referendum debate.

The Harvard Ave. location is ideal for two reasons that were evidently misunderstood:
1. Access - incidentally, the patient profile who will be using this medicine in many instances struggle with mobility. An RMD would be failing at its mission if it were tucked away with limited access. Harvard Ave. has many points of transit, making it ideal for access.

2. Eligibility - as most people know, if boston has two things, they are churches and schools. The Harvard Ave. location is one of very few with permitting landlords that fit the distance requirements.

It sounds to me like this would be the IDEAL location Allston and Brighton ought to be proud that such a group would consider their community.

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I'd like to know how this is

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I'd like to know how this is "big money" when supposedly there are just a small number of people with medical conditions requiring treatment. That should NOT be a growing demographic but a stable small one if one believes this is truly about treating those with serious conditions and not recreational use.

Think about this example too.

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Think about this example too. When Maine legalized medical pot the law was specific in which illnesses were covered. Now the industry wants the number of covered illnesses expanded. The procedure is for the for the gov't to review the evidence that pot consumption has efficacy in treating the new diseases. However, if the gov't says that no proof of the benefits exist, then the next step is to put the expanded treatment on the ballot for a vote.... and most likely it would pass This is medical science via the vote. In Colorado some pot dispensaries are claiming success in treating some childhood cancers.
Also although e-cig companies are criticized as trying to appeal to potential young smokers with grape, white chocolate and other e-cig flavours, medical pot pushers are not criticized for selling cookie and candy laced sweets as medicines (of unknown dosage); and in Mass. selling of pot laced gummy bears is Iegal. Just as the e-cig companies the pot companies want to hook them while their young.

medical marijuana dispensary

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Several things of note:
the Allston Civic Association voted for the proposed location at the Harvard Avenue location at its last meeting in April. It is mandated that the location cannot be within 500 feet of schools, churches and where children congregate.
The facility will be very secure and a state-mandated ID card will be required in addition to a thumbprint ID. The marijuana can be delivered to your home if requested. Hospitals cannot dispense it because of federal regulations. "Students" or anyone else, will have to have a condition that merits a prescription signed by a doctor who evaluates the merits.
The chief proponent stated he has MS and that marijuana has helped him.
My grandmother had MS. My wife's sister died from MS and my daughter has MS. If there is the remotest possibility that MS symptoms may be alleviated by the use of the drug, which kills astronomically less less people than alcohol, I am all for it. I am a long term resident and have resided here for 35 years, I am concerned for ALL the residents of my neighborhood, have not been asked or paid to write this. If you have not heard of the remarkable recovery of the little girl who had seizures alleviated by marijuana, you should see the perhaps there is more to this than what was portrayed in Reefer Madness. http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/07/health/charlotte-child-medical-marijuana/ . On the other hand, it could all be bunk, but what's the big harm, as long as you figure out a way to keep it out of the hands of kids, who on the other hand probably know where to buy it now.

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Seems to me like irrational

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Seems to me like irrational opposition. Anyone who smokes pot recreationally already knows how to get it. The people that medical marijuana will help generally do not, I'd imagine. This location satisfies all of the requirements. I do not see a reason to oppose it.

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