Selectmen want to chew on medical pot issue

Craig Semon Telegram & Gazette Staff

SHREWSBURY - Selectmen Tuesday night said they needed more time to ponder a proposal for a medical marijuana dispensing facility on Route 20.

John P. Glowik Jr., a Shrewsbury resident and president of Prime Wellness Centers, a medical marijuana dispensary based in South Windsor, Connecticut, addressed the board about operating a medical marijuana dispensary at 235 Hartford Turnpike, Route 20.

Mr. Glowik said he has been approved in Phase I from the state Department of Public Health a week and a half ago and filed for Phase 2 on Aug. 20. For the final phase, Phase 3, Mr. Glowik needs site approval from the Board of Selectmen.

Mr. Glowik said he thought it was a good property because it has a lot of access for patients to park.

“Only four minutes from my house is a dispensary that makes it very convenient to keep an eye on," he said. "And I felt that it was out-of-the-way, out of downtown, being on Route 20, just below Sullivan Tire and, kind of kitty-corner from the old Edgemere Drive-In. “

Mr. Glowik said a vast majority of prospective patients are 45 to 50 or older and will be suffering from “true pain.” Most customers would be walk-ins but some would like appointments, he said. The proposed hours of operation would be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed Sundays. And, because of the location, he said, he could handle business from the neighboring communities of Grafton, Millbury Auburn, Oxford and Worcester.

If everything goes as planned, Mr. Glowik said, their marijuana growing facilities in Sterling could be up and running by January or February and the medical marijuana dispensary in Shrewsbury could open its doors on July 1.

“We’re ready to get going and build our grow facilities,” Mr. Glowik said.

Selectmen Henry J. Fitzgerald and Maurice M. DePalo both expressed concerns about traffic, especially during rush hours, while many selectmen wrestled with unanswered questions about safety.

“For the first time in my life I feel I’m a Neanderthal,” Selectman James F. Kane said. “There seems to be such an acceptance of medical marijuana around me. I’m still stuck voting against it a number of years ago and my fear of the legalization. I feel as though I am in the middle, kind of, stuck and confused to some extent … I need time to kick this around in my own mind.”

“Is this something I really want in the town or not,” Mr. Fitzgerald said. “When this vote came before the state some years ago, I was against it … Since that time though, I’ve talked to a number of people, including somebody very close to me whose spouse was very ill … I think until I heard it more directly from people who could benefit, I was putting it in a different context … I've changed my mind.”

“I’m still wrestling, from a different perspective, because I voted for it, as did a majority of people in Shrewsbury,” board Chairman Moira E. Miller said. “I think I understand, anyways, the medical needs and get that and I would like to see a safe facility, accessible facility, that people can go to, people like you just described.”

“It was a good discussion. It was an important one to have,” Mr. DePalo said. “I’m leaning towards it.”

“I simply think the board, right now, is in a position that they would like to continue this discussion in good faith,” Selectmen John I. Lebeaux said. “The board has an open mind but has some questions that they want to resolve.”