Macek: Councilors ‘Had No Choice’ in Pot Shop Approvals; Predicts ‘Problem-Free’ Roll Out

Yes, Haverhill: Retail marijuana shops are on the way—but rest assured that the City Council took every care to do the roll out right, at least according to Bill Macek.

On this week’s episode of WHAV’s Open Mic Show, longtime councilor Macek chatted with co-host Ralph Basiliere about the calls he often receives from residents begging him to “stop” the shops from doing business. In fact, Macek told Basiliere, he and his fellow eight councilors were obligated to zone for six shops—or be forced to let the state throw a dart and see where it landed.

“We have no choice, because the state legislature has told us that if we don’t create at least reasonable opportunity for six shops to come to Haverhill, then they can locate anywhere in the community,” Macek said. “Then we’ve lost what little local control we have.”

The three business owners hoping to set up shop on Washington Street, River Street and Plaistow Road must iron out logistics with the City Council during Haverhill’s upcoming special permit process, but Macek said he’s confident his colleagues made the right decision.

“We’re doing it right, and we won’t be problem-free, but pretty close to zero problem-free,” he said.

Macek’s Open Mic colleague Basiliere sees the silver lining in the rollout process.

“Worst case scenario, we’ll have a bunch of hungry peaceniks contributing to our economy,” Basiliere joked.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini recently formed a committee to review additional applications to do business. The advisory panel is likely to include police and health department representatives, City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr., among others.

A date for the beginning of the special permit process has not been set, though Fiorentini expects the city’s first shop to open this summer.

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