Lighthouse Could Lose License

            Lighthouse Liquors was considered noncompliant after a deadline passed and no representative from the retailer appeared at the June 20 public meeting of the Marion Board of Health to explain delinquent payments of fines stemming from the illegal sale of a tobacco product to a minor.

            Dr. Ed Hoffer, board chairman presiding over the June 20 public meeting with only Dr. John Howard at his side (member Albin Johnson was not present), moved on to get an update from Tobacco Program compliance manager Megan daCosta, who told the board that a minor recently tried to buy a tobacco product at Lighthouse Liquors, but after the customer’s age was discovered, the sale was stopped.

            “Good news. Hopefully, that means that there won’t be any more sales,” daCosta said.

            Public Health Director/Nurse Lori Desmarais reported that since an original payment of $250, there have been no further payments of the $1,000 fine levied by the board on Lighthouse Liquors.

            Desmarais told the board that she paid Lighthouse a visit in April and explained that fines have not been paid on schedule and that if the situation is not rectified, the town cannot renew the retailer’s license at the end of the calendar year.

            “The key thing with that, as well as the new regulations that were adopted, we have a descending cap now so once a permit is not renewed, it’s permanently retired,” daCosta explained. Hypothetically, a retailer that loses its license-renewal privileges cannot expect at a later date to make repairs and successfully reapply.

            Hoffer indicated that the board’s only position at this point is to send another registered letter. Howard motioned that a letter be sent via constable stating that should the $750 balance not be paid by July 11, the six-month point, sales of tobacco will cease at Lighthouse and the store’s permit will not be renewed. The board agreed.

            Meantime, the state Department of Public Health has made a decision on the new Newport-brand, nonmenthol green products, declaring them “flavored” and thusly ineligible to be sold. Letters went out to all the retailers; the new law goes into effect on July 6, reported daCosta.

            The state recently sent out a letter to tobacco retailers regarding implementation of 105 CMR 665.000 and Restriction of Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products. Hoffer called the new information “complex but self-explanatory.”

            In her update, Health Agent Shallyn Rodriguez reported on an educational opportunity she recently took advantage of to refresh and learn new things about mental health and crisis intervention. The board was extremely pleased that Rodriguez continues to broaden her professional expertise.

            Howard said follow-up is “really key” in mental-health care.

            The state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) sent out an advisory that food and beverages containing hemp-derived CBD and/or THC on licensed premises are not legal for sale.

            In her update, Desmarais said epi-pens are on order. She also noted that grant funding has helped the town conduct approximately 800 community-EMS visits for the year. There has also been educational outreach regarding mosquitoes and ticks.

            Dave Davignon of Schneider, Davignon & Leone, Inc., appeared to answer questions regarding two septic projects at properties on West Drive. The board discussed his plans for the properties and voted its approval.

            During a reorganization of the board, Howard was voted to become chairman. Before closing, Howard publicly thanked Hoffer for his work as chairman through the COVID-19 pandemic and complemented him on his health columns that appear on his blog “What’s Wrong with Healthcare in America?”and in The Wanderer under the banner, “The Doctor Says.”

            The next meeting of the Marion Board of Health was not announced at adjournment.

Marion Board of Health

By Mick Colageo

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