Downtown Dispensary Hopeful Pineau on Traffic Study: ‘Why Single Out a Cannabis Shop?’

(File photograph)

Caroline Pineau asks city officials to reconsider a traffic study that could delay her proposed marijuana dispensary from opening for six months. (File photograph)

Longtime Haverhill business owner Caroline Pineau’s proposed cannabis shop has received priority status from the state—but closer to home, she continues to face an uphill battle.

Pursing a downtown dispensary for the past several months, The Yoga Tree’s Pineau tells WHAV she’s put off by city officials’ 11th hour proposal of a traffic study that could delay her possible opening by six months. Adding to the confusion, Pineau said, is the fact that Mayor James J. Fiorentini previously told her he was willing to support not only one but two downtown dispensaries.

With this about-face—put on Tuesday’s City Council agenda by President John A. Michitson—Pineau believes out-of-town applicants interested in other parts of Haverhill could have an “unfair advantage.”

“There are no traffic questions when other new businesses open up downtown: Why single out a cannabis shop?” she wondered.

Calling traffic concerns unfounded, Pineau told WHAV she hopes the Council will reconsider the need for a study and allow her to apply as soon as others in the area.

“I’ve been working very closely with the City Council and Mayor’s office and felt like we were getting very close to that being a reality and I’m not sure why all of a sudden the conversation is going in a different direction,” she said. “I just think it’s playing into fears that might be unfounded.”

Despite the potential traffic study setback, Pineau is forging ahead with plans for the dispensary she’d call STEM. She purchased 124 Washington St., next to The Lasting Room, as soon as downtown zoning was approved in October, and intends to move the shop into the 1,600 square feet comprising the lower level.

The zoning ordinance is expected to go before the full Council for approval on Dec. 11.