Published in the February 2, 2017 edition

NORTH READING – Selectmen have set a public hearing for Monday night to discuss a proposal to bring a medical marijuana facility to town.

The hearing, set for 8:15 p.m. in the selectmen’s room at town hall on Monday, Feb. 6, will include representatives from the Cardiac Arrythmia Foundation, who hope to open a dispensary at 61 Concord Street, an area near Route 93 that has already been zoned for this purpose. The CAF Foundation also has dispensary permits in Somerville and Cambridge and reportedly plans to use its proceeds to continue funding heart screenings for students. The foundation has also promised the town 4% of its first $3 million in revenues and 3% of all revenues thereafter, with an eye on achieving about $15 million in annual total revenues.

The foundation first went before selectmen about a month ago seeking a letter of non-opposition from them, which would set the stage for the facility being built in town. Selectmen have had numerous questions about the proposal from the start, and determined that it would be detrimental at this point for the town to sign the letter – setting the stage for Monday’s public hearing. Earlier this month, a subcommittee was also formed with selectmen Stephen O’Leary and Jeffrey Yull to continue talks with the foundation, which had been pushing for a faster vote on the matter because of an expected filing deadline with the state dept. of public health. The filing deadline with the state also apparently offers some more flexibility than initially thought.

Also, town residents will have the chance to weigh in on the separate issue of recreational marijuana sales in town, with a warrant article set for the May 13 special town meeting, where a zoning bylaw banning such sales will be presented. As a zoning change, this will require a two-thirds vote. There will also likely be a related question on the May 2 town election ballot.