Second Proposed Marijuana Store on Amesbury Road May Launch Competitive Battle

(File photograph.)

A second contender to open a recreational marijuana store on Amesbury Road creates the city’s first retail competition since only one of the proposals may be approved by law.

Haverwell Market of Newburyport has proposed a storefront in what would be a new building at 399 Amesbury Road, near Interstate 495. The plan appears to be in competition with one proposed by Mellow Fellows, down the street at the former Seafood Etc. property. Haverwell Market CEO Christopher Edwards told WHAV the site is ideal.

“It is zoned, very accessible and an area that is appropriate. There are very few residential properties in the vicinity. It will have the least possible impact,” he said. The site is diagonally across route 110 from the I-495 ramps at exit 52. Edwards, who opened the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary in Salem, Mass., will lease space in a building proposed by developers Stephen Stapinski and King Weinstein.

Stapinski told WHAV Haverwell would use a storefront 4,800 square feet, while another 1,200-square-foot storefront would also be available for rent when the building is constructed. The advantage to Haverwell is the building and site can be constructed to specifically suit the unique needs of such a retailer. Stapinski explains, “We have architects that have designed these in other cities and states. There’s a science to it.” If approved, Haverwell would have a “sally port” in the rear of the building to safely receive product deliveries.

Stapinski says there are other advantages. “Moving to back, it is surrounded by woods that won’t ever be developed—a good buffer around it. It is totally opposite the (highway) ramp, next to a gas station. It literally is not going to cause traffic problems.”

A city ordinance appears to prohibit any two licensed marijuana establishments from being located with a half mile of one another unless the City Council grants waivers. Edwards said the matter is subject to debate. He explains it is unclear whether the ordinance applies to businesses within the same or different zones. Approved zones include downtown Washington Street, Amesbury Road, Broadway off Computer Drive, Knipe Road, Plaistow Road, River Street and South Main Street.

Edwards is CEO and co-founder of Alternative Therapies Group, which opened in Salem. He also plans locations in Amesbury and Salisbury.

Haverwell Market appeared before Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini and the Haverhill Marijuana Review Committee last Thursday night—the fifth company to do so. It plans to have its required Community Outreach Hearing Thursday, April 11, 6-7 p.m., in room TC211 at Northern Essex Community College, 100 Elliott St.

Mellow Fellows’ Phil Brown, Charles Emery and Timothy Riley plan their hearing Thursday, April 4, 7 p.m., at the UMass iHub, Merrimack Street. All applicants must negotiate host agreements with the mayor and obtain special permits from city councilors.

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