May 20, 2017 09:07AM
By Cynthia Drummond
Sun staff writer
HOPKINTON — The Hopkinton Zoning Board has continued until June 15 a hearing on the appeal by Can Cure Cultivation LLC of the town’s denial of its application to grow medical marijuana.
Patrick J. McBurney, the Johnston lawyer representing Can Cure owner Gregory Cooper, appeared at the board’s meeting on Thursday, which lasted only a few minutes.
Board member Jonathan Ure told McBurney that the board would run through its list of facts to make sure it that has all the necessary information and that abutting property owners have been notified.
Can Cure applied to the town last March to grow marijuana on a 60-acre property at 0 Wich Way, near the Connecticut border. In April, Sherri Desjardins, deputy building and zoning official, denied the application based on the classification of marijuana as “drugs, chemicals and allied products,” which are not permitted in the RFR-80, or agricultural, zone.
McBurney said his client is now asking the board to classify marijuana cultivation as agriculture, which is the permitted use in that zone.
Also attending the meeting was Town Council member Barbara Capalbo, who said she would prefer to see marijuana classified as a pharmaceutical product, which is subject to regulatory controls.
“I’m concerned about the issue of bathtub marijuana like bathtub gin, and I prefer that it’s under pharmaceuticals,” she said. “But, I’m willing to listen to the arguments. I just don’t know where it’s going right now, and I don’t think Rhode Island does, either.”
In other business, longtime Zoning Board Chairman Philip Scalise announced that he was resigning from the board.
“After 15 years, I think this is it for me,” he said. “Mixed emotions, I guess.”
Scalise took a few moments to reminisce about some of the more complex cases that had come before him.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “For those of you who have been around long enough to know just a smattering of what we’ve been through ...You think about the highs and the lows and the weird stuff from left and right. I know this sounds corny, but the board is a complexion that’s unbelievably resilient, and for all the jokes we make and the little bickering that we had, the board is strong because of that.... What was brought to bear for everything from the alpacas to Love’s for three or four years, and everything in between. You’re proud to look back at all the good stuff you did for people.”
A new chairman will be chosen at the June meeting.