Deerfield, Greenfield, Whately focus of medical marijuana applications in Franklin County
DEERFIELD — The towns of Deerfield, Greenfield and Whately have become the focus in Franklin County as five applicants compete for a license to open a registered medical marijuana operation here.
A Montague fish producer whose nonprofit group is A New Leaf Inc., a Whately potato farmer (JM Farm’s Patient Group Inc.), a Greenfield liquor store owner (MR Absolute Medical Services Inc.), a pair of Boston-area lawyers (Baystate Alternative Health Care Inc.), and a Tampa, Fla., group (Holistic Speciality Care) are the applicants.
They are developing the second phase of their applications to acquire one of the 35 available licenses statewide.
While one nonprofit, JM Farm’s Patient Group Inc., directed by farmer James Pasiecnik of Whately, Nicholas Spagnola of Revere and Joshua Sodaitis of Somerville, has already met with the Whately Select Board seeking community support for its proposal, the four other groups have largely remained out of the public eye.
Here is information about each of them.
A New Leaf Inc.
Josh Goldman, the founder and chief executive officer of Australis Aquaculture, a fish farm in Montague, has teamed up with Marina Goldman and Susan Lowry, also of Montague, for a proposed dispensary and cultivation center in Deerfield under the nonprofit corporation A New Leaf Inc.
Australis is the producer of fresh and frozen barramundi products sold to retail and food service markets at more than 4,000 outlets across North America.
Goldman is an known internationally as a leader in the sustainable seafood movement, and he was instrumental in introducing tilapia in the United States and founded one of first tilapia farms. He also founded AquaFuture Inc., which raised striped bass until 2003 in Turners Falls.
A New Leaf representative said it is not yet ready to make its plans public.
“We are currently formulating a comprehensive proposal that we expect will meet the needs of patients and the broader Franklin County community,” Goldman, the executive director, said in a statement. “While we are developing our proposal, we will not be making any public comment until we are prepared to present it to the appropriate city or town board.”
MR Absolute Medical Resources
Michael Ruggeri, owner of Ruggeri’s Beverage and Redemption Center on Deerfield Street in Greenfield, has applied under the nonprofit MR Absolute Medical Resources Inc.
The longtime Greenfield business owner has listed his hometown as the location of two dispensaries.
The state allows for a registered medical marijuana treatment center to cultivate, prepare and dispense from one or two locations.
Ruggeri has run businesses in Franklin County for 40 years, from his liquor store to a real estate company.
Baystate Alternative Health Care
Two Boston-area lawyers, Robert Carp of Newton and Stephen Cottens of Norwood applied for a license under the nonprofit Baystate Alternative Health Care Inc.
Carp and Cottens are partners in the law firm Carp Law Offices LLC specializing in compliance law. Most of their experience is in helping others set up medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, Arizona and California.
The pair have proposed a cultivation facility in Chicopee. The dispensary would be in Springfield in Hampden County. But the lawyers also plan to use the Chicopee cultivation facility to grow for two additional dispensary locations. The pair have not said where the two additional dispensaries would be, but they have an application for Franklin County.
Carp previously said they are hoping to open three dispensaries in three different locations, which requires three licenses.
In addition to providing medicine, the group would also provide massage, yoga, educational services and counseling ,according to its mission statement.
Holistic Speciality Care
Chirag Amin of Tampa, Fla., and Amar Amin and Dimpal Parikh, both of Ocean, N.J., have proposed putting a treatment center in Greenfield. The group did not specify about the dispensary and cultivation center.
In its mission statement, the group said it would strive to remain on the “cutting edge of scientific research to better understand the emerging knowledge about marijuana and its medical use.”
JM Farm’s Patient Group
James Pasiecnik of Whately, Nicholas Spagnola of Revere and Joshua Soditis of Somerville have proposed siting a dispensary and cultivation center in Whately. The cultivation center would be at 207 River Road.
The group is also looking at property in the South Deerfield Industrial Park.
As one of the few towns across the state which has not enacted a temporary moratorium on medical marijuana treatment centers, Deerfield is a popular choice with applicants seeking to break into the new medical marijuana industry quickly.
Interim Deerfield Town Administrator Wendy Foxmyn said the town received many calls early in the licensing process from a range of interested parties.