First Haverhill Marijuana Dispensary Could Open By July, Says Fiorentini

A retail marijuana dispensary could open in Haverhill by the summer, Mayor Fiorentini said. (File photograph)

The City of Haverhill stands to gain between $500,000 and $1.5 million in revenue from retail marijuana dispensaries, according to new figures released this week.

Ahead of the Jan. 9 Planning Board meeting to finalize zoning for retail locations, Mayor James J. Fiorentini said he is negotiating host community agreements with three possible shop owners looking to open in Haverhill.

According to Fiorentini, the host agreement stipulates how much money vendors will pay the city—capped by state law at 3 percent of their revenue, plus an additional 3 percent in sales tax revenue. Haverhill’s gain stands at up to $1.5 million, the mayor said.

In conversations with Haverhill Stem, CNA Stores and Full Harvest Moonz, Fiorentini said each potential dispensary owner has consented to a parking and traffic study. Each location will also establish a traffic mitigation plan as part of their application.

Once host community agreements are finalized, each applicant must also file for and be granted a license from the state Cannabis Control Commission. At that time, the City Council will hear each establishment’s petition for a special permit. A community meeting unique to each location will also take place prior to final approval, Fiorentini said.

As WHAV previously reported, two downtown districts were zoned for marijuana retail operation earlier this year. One zone includes Washington Street and areas of Emerson, Locust and Granite Streets, along with portions of Railroad Square. The second waterfront zone welcomes a marijuana retailer to the area as long as the location has frontage on Merrimack Street. In all instances, buffer zones are in place to keep marijuana away from places children frequent.

Zoning will be approved at the Jan. 15 City Council meeting.

Per state regulations, Haverhill needs to allow the opportunity for up to six licenses to be issued, which correlates to 20 percent of the number of liquor licenses issued in the city.

Should the application process go as expected, Haverhill’s first dispensary could open by July 1.