Grandson of Gen. George Patton seeking medical pot dispensary
By BRIAN LEE | Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, Mass. | Published: August 11, 2018
SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass. (Tribune News Service) — As local officials work to set zoning rules that would push medical marijuana dispensaries from schools, churches and residential neighborhoods, the grandson of a famous World War II general is proposing to open a medical marijuana facility on Mill Street.
Mr. Bob Patton said he is proud to be the grandson of General George S. Patton and son of George Patton IV, an Army major-general who died in 2004. He is also the CEO of Green Meadow Farms, which grows licensed medical marijuana on farmland that has been in the Patton family for generations.
A Town Council meeting Monday calls for Town Planner Ken Comia to present a proposed zoning bylaw for medical marijuana and registered dispensaries. Subsequently, an agenda item calls for the council to approve the first of three readings of the proposed bylaw.
If approved, Green Meadows Farms, a cultivator of medical marijuana in Hamilton, will file a formal application to build a 3,000-square-foot dispensary on a 1.1 acre lot adjacent to 19 Mill Street, according to documents the company provided to the Planning Board.
The Mill Street area would be an acceptable location under the proposed bylaw.
The company has an option to purchase the lot, contingent on Green Meadows receiving Southbridge's approval to establish and operate a registered medical marijuana dispensary, according to the preliminary plan.
The company is contemplating a host agreement agreement that would contribute in excess of $100,000 annually to the town.
Reached by phone this week, company CEO Bob H. Patton said: "We have to be deferential to the process, and that begins with town council passing a bylaw. Presuming that happens, we then will immediately step up and say we have a great location and a great story and great business model, and we'd love to dispense medical marijuana to your patients in the area."
The company is in the process of permitting and constructing the grow facility in Hamilton. It doesn't have a dispensary at that site.
While researching possible locations for a dispensary, Mr. Patton said he happened to find the Mill Street land for sale, researched Southbridge, and liked what he discovered.
"It seemed like a ripe community for this kind of a service," he said, noting that it appeared local residents would support a facility, and it has Harrington Hospital and a cancer center.
"We truly are producing and providing medicine, so I thought that was a nice connection," Mr. Patton said
The company made preliminary introductions to town officials, and attended a recent Planning Board meeting.
Southbridge placed a ban on recreational marijuana companies through a townwide vote in June 2017.
According to minutes of a July 11 Planning Board meeting, a board member asked the planner if Green Meadows would consider selling recreational marijuana in the event Southbridge lifted the ban.
"Right now we would not do that because we are stipulated to only be a medical provider," Mr. Patton said. "And so, were Southbridge to allow recreational marijuana, as a business model, we probably would seek from another provider to make that available to our customers if they wanted ... If the environment around us changes, we're realistic. We know that's something we'll have to deal with. But again our cultivation facility — our greenhouse in Hamilton — is by agreement with that town to only be providing medical marijuana."
The family has owned the Hamilton property for nearly 100 years and has run an organic farm there for 30 years.
Mr. Patton said of his heritage: "It's part of our story, and to whatever extent it assures people that we want to have integrity, and we want to be true to our word in every way, as far as running a facility beyond compliance in every way. To some extent, people can look to our family and my grandfather as sort of evidence of that. But I always say I have to earn that. We know that because the Pattons were part of our past, and people associate good things to it, we know that as a company we have to earn it."
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