A proposed medical marijuana growing and selling facility in the old Atlantic Aquarium building at the edge of Nantasket Beach in Hull has generated dueling petitions for and against the plan.
Each petition had about 1,550 signatures as of July 14.
Supporters of the Latitude 42 Therapeutics project say it would be a needed economic boost to the Hull economy, which relies heavily on homeowners’ property taxes, and would get rid of a long-vacant eyesore.
Opponents of the plan say the beachfront property is a poor choice for a manufacturing plant, which they say will smell bad and cause parking and traffic problems.
The concrete structure was built in 1972 at 120 Nantasket Ave. as an aquarium, and has about 14,400 square feet on half an acre located near the mainland end of the state-owned Nantasket Beach Reservation parking lot.
The building was last used as classrooms for the South Shore Charter School, and has been empty for more than 15 years.
In 2007, a local group proposed turning the space into a performing arts center, but the idea fizzled out.
Entrepreneur Sean Power bought the property for $900,000 at the end of 2019, and teamed with Hull native Jeffrey Shaheen to form Latitude 42 Therapeutics and develop the medical marijuana plan.
In their July 8 Zoom presentation to the Hull selectmen, Power and Shaheen said the company would invest $4 million to $6 million in the facility and create nearly 100 jobs – including 30 that are permanent year round.
Latitude 42 has proposed a Host Community Agreement that would give the town 3 percent of its gross sales, which the company estimated at $1.5 million over five years.
The company also promised to provide extensive security and minimize odor emissions.
In a written presentation, the company said its goal was “centered on the economic development of Hull and the scientific advancement of cannabis care and research.”
“Hull is our home,” the presentation said. “We will strive to make our cannabis establishment a point of pride for the community – because we live here, too.”
Residents at the Zoom meeting spoke for and against the proposal. Several representatives from nearby condominiums spoke in opposition.
Hull residents voted in favor of legalizing medical marijuana in the 2012 state ballot, and town officials have approved a smaller medical marijuana dispensary in another location farther from the beach on George Washington Boulevard.
Selectmen will continue to hear comments on Latitude 42′s proposal in a Zoom meeting on July 22. Anyone who wants to submit a comment or speak at the meeting should e-mail Nancy Allent, the administrative assistant to Town Manager Philip E. Lemnios, at email@example.com.
Johanna Seltz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.