December 7, 2018

Proposed 1 million-square-foot pot facility in Charlton rejected by DPH

Photo | Courtesy
A rendering of Valley Green Grow's proposed facility in Charlton.

The developers of a proposed 1 million-square-foot marijuana cultivation facility in Charlton have been dealt a significant setback after the state Department of Public Health said the plan doesn't comply with state regulations.

In a Dec. 3 letter, the state said Valley Green Grow's proposal for the shared cultivation center and up to six cultivation tenants violates regulations that require only the company's workers be given access to certain areas of the facility.

The current application would allow only Valley Green Grow employees registered with the state to enter those areas.

The DPH also listed quality control and theft concerns with that proposal.

Valley Green Grow can reapply with a different model, as the application has expired as of Oct. 30.

The proposal has been vehemently contested by many residents, including local group Preserve Charlton's Character.

The $100 million facility is proposed on the Charlton Orchards land. Residents have filed lawsuits in Worcester Superior Court and Land Court in Boston in attempts to block the development.

Oversight of the medical marijuana program will be shifting to the Cannabis Control Commission on Dec. 23.

An attorney for the company told the Telegram & Gazette that the project is still moving forward. The company is seeking a meeting with DPH before it resubmits the application to refine its plan to meet regulations.

"By the time we get building permits and start to build, it's our reasonable belief this will be irrelevant. If it's still relevant, we'll change the plan," Attorney Michael Rosen told the T&G. "If we have to build another room, the simple solution is to just give (each tenant) their own room."

The regulation applies only to medical marijuana, so the company could solicit tenants only for the adult-use industry, Rosen said.

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