Safety, Privacy a Priority at Proposed Haverhill Pot Shop, Say Developers

The proposed exterior design for a downtown Haverhill cannabis dispensary as outlined by architect Matt Juros of Fishbrook Design. (Courtesy photograph)

The proposed exterior design for a downtown Haverhill retail cannabis dispensary as outlined by architect Matt Juros of Fishbrook Design. (Courtesy photograph)

As City Councilors prepare to zone for recreational marijuana in Haverhill, downtown small business owner Caroline Pineau is doing all she can to make sure Washington and Merrimack Streets fall within that zone.

The owner of the Yoga Tree Studio, Pineau has maintained a presence downtown for the past eight years and has secured the support of more than 30 fellow business owners for what she calls a “safe, secure and sophisticated” cannabis dispensary.

Pineau, along with architect Matt Juros of Fishbrook Design, presented plans for the proposed retail location during a recent City Council subcommittee meeting. While recreational zoning is still up for discussion, Pineau is one of 123 applicants given priority status by the Cannabis Control Commission as what’s called an economic empowerment applicant.

Juros, who initially voted against marijuana in 2016, said Pineau changed his mind with her proposal. He’s now among those pushing to spur the local economy through cannabis consumption.

“What you gain putting it downtown is that you invite people into the town to behave well. This is the type of establishment that, it is said, will gross $8 million a year. The first one in any community is going to get a bump as the first one, and gross $12 million a year. I want to have a $12 million store in downtown Haverhill.”

In designs created by Juros, the store would prioritize security. Shoppers’ identification would be verified at multiple locations and security cameras, alarm systems and “seed-to-sale” tracking software would be hallmarks of the location, Juros said.

“The security measures are daunting in a way and it could be a very Fort Knox-like environment, but we want it to be inviting, sophisticated and fitting for the level of commerce that it’s going to represent. In Haverhill, there’s a certain amount of decorum on our streets and that decorum is growing as we grow and develop.”

In compliance with Cannabis Control Commission law, no exterior signage, product depictions or window displays are allowed. Instead, Juros would like to see a public art display visible to passersby to create a common community thread.

As cannabis commerce consultant Will Luzier reasons, Haverhill has an opportunity to make the most of what’s to come.

“People want to go to a place where they can buy something that’s tested, where they know what’s in it, and know they’re safe going in and out rather than buying it from someone on the street who doesn’t check their ID and has other things to sell besides marijuana.”

Shopping statistics say patrons will spend $100 in an estimated 10-minute shopping trip, according to Juros.