Clarification: An earlier version of this story stated Attorney Faraci received notice from Edwards about the ownership interests shortly before the meeting, when in fact Faraci was referring to documentation submitted by Attorney Jim Smith to the Council regarding said ownership. WHAV regrets the error.
Cannabis entrepreneur Christopher Edwards saw his special permit request for 399 Amesbury Road’s Haverwell Market tabled by the Haverhill City Council Tuesday after 11th hour ownership questions came to light.
Following nearly 90 minutes of debate between Edwards, his attorney Bill Faraci and concerned residents, Councilor William J. Macek wondered why Edwards listed so many different companies on his application paperwork.
According to Edwards, the main entity is actually a company called TGIG, and Haverwell LLC—the business he hopes to open at 399 Amesbury Road—is what he calls a “totally-owned subsidiary” of that company. When pressed, Edwards, whose Salem-based Alternative Therapies Group was temporarily shuttered in February by the Cannabis Control Commission for an inventory tracking glitch, held firm as he attempted to outline the tangled web of businesses.
Further complicating the issue, Edwards said he doesn’t even plan to call his business Haverwell. “Haverwell Market was always a placeholder and ultimately we intend to operate the facility as The Grove,” Edwards said.
Despite several councilor objections, Edwards did not publicly identify the three stakeholders of TGIG, other than alluding to the fact that he is linked to the company of the same name in Nevada. Edwards was not required to disclose the ownership stake in Haverwell/TGIG to the secretary of state’s office when filing for his LLC.
The sale of Alternative Therapies Group is “pending,” Edwards told councilors Tuesday night. It has been reported Edwards will relinquish control of the brand to Wakefield-based Curaleaf, one of the country’s largest marijuana operators.
Macek said he was initially sold on Haverwell Market but changed his tune after speaking with a high-ranking Cannabis Control Commission official before Tuesday’s meeting. Councilor Colin F. LePage said he received notification of the name change on Friday, Aug. 16.
“Not to dispute Chris Edwards and what he’s done, but the concern is that we’re making a deal and a permit with the owners and that hasn’t been fully represented and that’s what I’m very concerned about,” LePage said. Edwards’ own attorney admitted his client didn’t notify him until just prior to the 7 p.m. meeting.
Longtime cannabis foe Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua was quick to motion that his Council peers deny the special permit. In a last-ditch effort to preserve the permit, Faraci asked the governing body to table the request so Edwards could furnish the requested information to the Council. With Michael S. McGonagle absent, Bevilacqua, Macek and John Michitson voting against, the continuance was granted for Sept. 24.
As Haverwell Market’s special process continues, stay with 97.9 WHAV FM for much more on this story. WHAV will also have a full recap on the Amesbury Road neighbors’ reaction to his business plan later this week.