Jennings on Pineau Marijuana Permit: ‘City Made a Mistake’ in Not Protecting Haverhill Kids

Lloyd Jennings spoke in opposition of Caroline Pineau's Washington Street marijuana shop Stem at the June 18, 2019 City Council meeting. (WHAV News file photograph)

Lloyd Jennings is doing it for the children in the City of Haverhill. On Tuesday night, Jennings begged city councilors to deny Caroline Pineau’s special permit for the Stem marijuana shop for the sake of Haverhill’s littlest Hillies.

As the contractor explained before the Council and a packed room of Haverhill neighbors, downtown business owners and Pineau supporters, he and opponents J. Bradford Brooks and Stavros Dimakis say safety is being ignored when it comes to 124 Washington St.

“I feel that our children’s safety should be first and foremost—not the profit that marijuana could bring to an individual to a city,” Jennings said.

As WHAV reported ahead of Tuesday’s special permit hearing, Jennings joined Brooks and Dimakis in an effort to contest the validity of the zoning for Pineau’s storefront, which the men say was too close to where children congregate, making a case in land court.

The men also said Stem would “destroy” both the desirability and property value of downtown property values.

On Tuesday night, Jennings appeared to forget the yearlong process councilors and other city advocates underwent to carefully identify the zones across Haverhill that would be best suited to house retail marijuana shops.

“I think the city made a mistake zoning a recreational marijuana store downtown and it is making a mistake if it allows a special permit for this recreational store into this address with no buffers,” he fumed.

At one point, Council President John A. Michitson let Jennings speak beyond the allotted three minutes per person to get his point across, but was forced to bang his gavel when the contractor riled up the crowd with shouts of “it’s fixed.”

Of the nine-member Council, seven voted to grant Pineau her special permit, with Joseph J. Bevilacqua voting against and Michael S. McGonagle abstaining, given his conflict of interest as the landlord for another potential marijuana shop on Amesbury Road eyed by the Mellow Fellows.

Also on Tuesday, Jennings dismissed Pineau’s claims of extortion, as outlined in a June 5 suit filed in Essex County Superior Court, calling such allegations “nonsense.”

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