A group of East Boston residents are opposed to a pot shop planned for Maverick Square because of its close proximity to a substance abuse recovery center, and have now turned to the Boston City Council for help in stopping its opening.
The center, North Suffolk Mental Health Association, provides outpatient mental health and addiction services from its location at 14 Porter St. Omnicann, a marijuana company, is looking to open a pot shop at 24 Porter St., a nearby building that previously housed a dry cleaning business.
"Someone who is trying to improve their life doesn't need to have temptation right in front of them as they're working on [themselves]," said Margaret Farmer, a neighborhood resident and former employee of North Suffolk Mental Health Association. She added, "We can't stop shops from opening, but there are industrial locations in East Boston that would be better choices that wouldn't be right near vulnerable populations."
The Boston City Council is seeking more input on the proposed shop and will hold a community meeting on Tuesday to discuss how close such businesses should be to recovery facilities.
City Councilor Lydia Edwards called the hearing to discuss the planned location. Edwards said it's not the first pot shop to be proposed near a treatment center, and she's invited clinic workers, patients and residents to weigh in on how the close proximity would affect them.
Edwards said the issue is larger than this one location, and that the city has to develop zoning on where to locate recreational marijuana businesses and where they should be restricted.
"I know this is one of at least three times where a recreational dispensary has tried to come in next to either a methadone clinic or a treatment center," Edwards said.
Omnicann will also host a community meeting next week to talk with residents about the shop, security and being a good neighbor.