Councillor Wants Answers on Delayed Marijuana Sales Site on Railroad Avenue

By Adam Swift

As the City Council has debated the possibility of allowing licenses for retail marijuana sales over the past several years, there is one license that has sat virtually idle in the city for nearly a decade.

In 2015, the council granted a special permit for a medical marijuana facility at 44 Railroad Ave.

In 2018, the council voted to ban retail marijuana establishments in the city, mainly due to residents voting against the legalization of retail marijuana sales in a 2016 statewide referendum.

Recently, Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri has worked to bring more information to the council about the possibility of opening up the city to retail marijuana sales.

However, at last week’s meeting, Silvestri introduced a motion seeking to have the mayor request that Matthew Philbin, the license holder, appear before the council to discuss the delays with the Railroad Avenue project.

“As many of you know, I am very passionate about the cannabis industry, and some may say it’s a failing industry,” said Silvestri. “But if done right, it can be a very profitable industry.”

Silvestri noted that potential revenue from retail marijuana sales coming into the city coffers could help with the costs associated with building a new high school.

“I think Mr. Philbin owes the city and the council an explanation with what is going on with his project,” said Silvestri. “It’s been almost a decade since we approved this project. If it was any other business, I don’t know if this would be allowed; to lock it up and hold the only license and give us zero revenue or zero explanation of why it is happening.”

The license, which was issued to what was then listed as Boston Wellness Association of Lynnfield for 44 Railroad Ave., was grandfathered in after the vote was taken to ban retail marijuana sales in the city.

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