Boston City Council voted unanimously today to withhold crucial support for the application of a business seeking to open a medical marijuana dispensary on Harvard Avenue in Allston.
Technically the Council voted not to issue something called a “letter of non-opposition," that marijuana dispensary applicants are required to obtain from local municipalities in order to get state approval.
The vote came after a contentious Council committee hearing on Monday in which District 9 City Councilor Mark Ciommo, who represents Allston-Brighton, grilled the principals of the applicant, Compassionate Organics, saying he had “serious concerns” about the application.
Ciommo, and the rest of Council, did vote to approve a letter of non-opposition for another company, Mayflower Medicinals, which employs Frank Perullo, a friend and longtime political consultant to Ciommo.
Compassionate Organics has enjoyed support from at least some nearby residents and neighborhood groups, and its founder, Geoffrey Reilinger, has suggested that Ciommo’s criticism of the project stemmed from allegiance to his longtime associate.
Speaking before Council today, District 2 Councilor Bill Linehan, who chairs the committee that heard testimony over Compassionate Organics this week, recommended the city’s legislative body not issue the company a letter of non-opposition.
Ciommo said today that his concerns with Compassionate Organics related to the merits of its application, and announced that he has posted those concerns on his personal website. Ciommo also suggested that Compassionate Organics had misrepresented themselves to him in saying the project had been given verbal approval by the Suffolk County sheriff and “two members” of the Boston Police Department.
Apparently anticipating blow-black, Ciommo told his colleagues that in voting with him they would “probably receive criticism.”