Board approves two more marijuana centers

Board approves two more marijuana centers

PAWTUCKET – The Pawtucket Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday approved two more marijuana grow centers for the city, bringing the total approved since April to seven.

An additional three facilities have been denied over that time, and another application is pending.

All approved facilities are located in industrial zones, according to Jay Rosa, of the Pawtucket Planning and Redevelopment Office. None have been approved by the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation yet, and there is no guarantee that they will be approved. Zoning Board approval allows the applicants to move forward with the state application process, and there is a significant backup at the state level.

Representatives for SNH Nursery LLC, at 560 Mineral Spring Ave., and Ocean State Collective Inc. and Seth Realty Corp., of 225 Conant St., both received special use permit approvals for manufacturing of drugs and pharmaceuticals.

The grow centers are being approved before the Mayor’s Marijuana Task Force concludes its work on drafting rules for marijuana growth and sale in the city.

The Breeze reported in April that the Board of Appeals had approved the city’s first three new marijuana growing operations applied for through a new set of rules.

Under a new Rhode Island law this year, the Department of Business Regulation is regulating and licensing the state’s marijuana compassion centers. New rules call for cultivators to replace patient caregivers as the key suppliers for the state’s three dispensaries. For many years, caregivers have been selling their excess marijuana to the dispensaries, which distribute marijuana to some 15,000 patients.

Rhode Island officials still haven’t decided whether to legalize recreational marijuana, a measure that has widespread public support.

Representatives for Johnston-based SNH Nursery have a pending license with the Department of Business Regulation, said Board of Appeals Chairman Douglas McKinnon prior to the board approving a permit for the company Monday.

Representatives for the company previously testified that the facility will be fully secure, having an alarm system with motion sensors, and randomized deliveries and pickups. No businesses will be located above or below SNH Nursery.

The applicants are currently limited to 5,000 square feet of space under a Class A license in an industrial open zone, but are leaving their options open on coming back for a Class B license and a 10,000-square-foot limit in the future. The board placed conditions on its approval, including full compliance with state regulations.

The board also conditionally approved a Class B license for the Ocean State Collective and Seth Realty Corp., at 225 Conant St., a mill located between Price Rite on Lonsdale Avenue and a future Pawtucket train station. The company chose to pursue an application with the city before going to the state for a license to grow.

The Ocean State Collective needs a Class B license to operate 9,300 square feet of grow rooms. The second-floor facility will have 120 security cameras, keypad entry, and an enclosed and locked shipping and receiving room that a car can drive into. There will be 236 tables and 472 lights. The owners testified that they’ll need five gallons of water a day for each marijuana plant. They told the board a water filtration system will ensure that water is clean when it leaves the building. The owners are also willing to install a commercial elevator in the facility.