With the use of medical marijuana in Massachusetts now legal, I unveiled plans last week to open Central Ave. Compassionate Care Inc. as a regulated marijuana dispensary at 31 Central Ave., in Ayer, operating under the strict regulations adopted by the state Department of Public Health.

While many in town have expressed support, others have voiced concerns about this plan. In fact, a zoning moratorium has been proposed that would block Central Ave. Compassionate Care. Before the town takes any action, I wish to have the chance to demonstrate how this facility is now permitted and how we will operate according to state law and health regulations.

I ask the leaders and citizens of Ayer, where two-thirds of the voters supported the medical marijuana law, to look at this issue with an open mind and a compassionate heart. It is my hope that the town can unite behind this responsible and professional plan that will meet a medical need of the most seriously ill, while also protecting the public safety and aiding in the fight against drug abuse.

I believe the use as a regulated marijuana dispensary is allowed by right at the location, 31 Central Ave., in Ayer. It is a legal retail business activity similar in many respects to a pharmacy, although Central Ave. Compassionate Care will carry only a single drug and be open only to qualified patients, not the general public.


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There are many other important facts for the community to understand. Many of them are covered at our website, CentralAveCare.org, and at the state Department of Public Health's site, www.mass.gov/medicalmarijuana. Here are some points for you to consider:

* I founded Central Ave. Compassionate Care Inc. to serve only those who the DPH declares are qualified patients with serious, life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, Lou Gehrig's disease and multiple sclerosis. A full list of the qualifying conditions is online, and I think you will agree they are all debilitating illnesses. The people who suffer from them deserve our compassion and assistance.

* As a 20-year resident of Shirley, married father of two sons and local business owner, I am extremely serious about protecting the public safety. This facility will closely track all inventory from seed to sale; protect children by never producing a product that mimics a snack or candy; utilize state-of-the-art security systems and protocols; and employ professionals from the medical, security, food production and other related industries who pass criminal background checks.

* Central Ave. Compassionate Care Inc. will serve a medical need in a responsible and professional setting, and will work with the community to combat drug abuse through public safety and education grants. In no way, shape or form will it encourage illicit drug use.

* The only people allowed on the facility property will be its employees, patients who are registered with the state Department of Public Health and have an appointment, and public safety and public health inspectors.

* A moratorium would delay the establishment of a dispensary in Ayer, but it would not permanently stop one. By delaying the opening of a dispensary, the moratorium will allow for the home growing of medical marijuana by patients, as allowed under state regulations. This will undoubtedly occur in a setting less secure and not as closely monitored as Central Ave. Compassionate Care Inc. The eventual creation of a medical marijuana zone will open the door for an out-of-town entity that lacks the commitment to the community.

By supporting my plan, the town would be controlling the production of medical marijuana in Ayer, and it would be supporting a nonprofit organization that takes seriously its commitment to public safety.

If you wish to learn more, I invite the community of Ayer to attend a briefing and tour of the facility at 31 Central Ave., Ayer, on June 5, at 3:30, 5 or 7:30 p.m. to learn about my business plan and the strict state regulations. Please RSVP by calling 978-772-CARE (2273) or by visiting the website CentralAveCare.org.

It is my hope to earn the trust and support of the community so we can compassionately serve those who suffer life-limiting illnesses while protecting the public safety.

JOHN HILLIER

Founder and Director

Central Ave.

Compassionate Care Inc.

31 Central Ave.

Ayer