Mellow Fellows Marijuana Shop Wins Special Permit Amid Amesbury Road Neighbor Traffic, Crime Concerns

Mellow Fellows plans to open at 330 Amesbury Road in Haverhill. (Courtesy rendering.)

Haverhill-based trio Charles Emery, Timothy Riley and E. Phillip Brown are set to bring their marijuana shop Mellow Fellows to 330 Amesbury Road after the City Council granted their special permit Tuesday night. The shop becomes the fourth location in the city to move forward in the marijuana pipeline, with the next step being the signing of a host community agreement and licensure from the state Cannabis Control Commission.

All councilors with the exception of Joseph J. Bevilacqua supported the special permit. Michael S. McGonagle abstained from the vote given his status as the landlord of the former Seafood Etc. property leased by the Mellow Fellows.

At Tuesday’s public hearing, several neighbors from the Amesbury Road area voiced concerns over parking, traffic and crime. As has been the case at previous hearings, appointment scheduling was a temporary sticking point, with councilors talking the group down to four appointments every 15 minutes in an effort to keep traffic under control.

Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien was optimistic that the schedule could be fluid once the shop is operational. “What we’re giving you is an avenue to success. If you start here, it’s not going to last long. It could only be two weeks,” she said. “I don’t think that’s a lot to ask to get the bugs out. We don’t know how this traffic’s going to be. That is really a big concern.”

Mellow Fellows Vice President Charles F. Emery addressed the Haverhill City Council on Aug. 20. (WHAV News file photograph)

Traffic was also a concern for Elliott Street resident Dan McDonald, who implored councilors to think of the “quality of life” impact on locals. “The quality of life in that area is going to go down, as well as the property values,” McDonald said. “At some point, the City Council has to look at the best interests of its residents at heart. Maybe it’s time to set up the city in wards or districts, so that we can actually have somebody who’s in the best interest of that area.”

In plans designed by Fishbrook Design architect Matthew Juros, the Mellow Fellows outlined a proposal for a 19-space lot deemed more than sufficient by attorney Jim Smith.

Neighbor Mitch Forman was also worried about the congestion Mellow Fellows could cause—namely from out of state residents coming from across the border where marijuana is illegal. “People in New Hampshire can’t go back to New Hampshire: It’s illegal. Where are they going to smoke it? You want Haverhill to be full of people in their cars smoking dope and just walking around? That is an unfavorable business solution.”

Forman also took Council Vice President Thomas J. Sullivan to task for his role as the real estate closing attorney on Tuesday night. While Forman accused Sullivan of having a conflict of interest, Sullivan confirmed he cleared his participation in the special permit vote with the state ethics commission. Retained by landlords Mac and D Realty in March 2019, Sullivan said he has “no beneficial interest” in the Mellow Fellows business and that while he received payment for his services, it was a one-time transaction.

In the end, the Mellow Fellows pledged to deliver the “gold standard” of service with the tagline of “locally owned, locally sourced.” The group confirmed they intend to hire low-income, minority workers and give back to the community through a $22,000 donation to Haverhill Public Schools, in addition to other charitable contributions to be agreed upon in their as-yet-unsigned host community agreement. As with the other shops intending to open in Haverhill, the Mellow Fellows will pay the city three percent of their proceeds annually.

As the Mellow Fellows pursue their host community agreement, stay with 97.9 WHAV FM for much more on this story.

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