Year-in-Review: Only 1 of 5 Proposed Marijuana Shops Sidelined in 2019; Confusion Grips Another

Chris Edwards petitioned Haverhill's City Council on Aug. 20 during a special permit hearing for his Amesbury Road shop Haverwell. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Only one of five proposed Haverhill recreational marijuana shops was sidelined in 2019.

Haverwell Market pulled its special permit request from the Haverhill City Council after it came under scrutiny over its ownership,

Christopher Edwards initially brought Haverwell’s request for 399 Amesbury Road before the Council Aug. 20. Members, led by Councilor William J. Macek, tabled the request after 11th hour ownership questions came to light. Councilor Colin F. LePage also said he received notification of Haverwell Market’s corporate name change the previous Friday. Before the hearing could continue in September, the company asked to withdraw—at least temporarily.

According to Edwards, his entity is actually a company called TGIG, and Haverwell LLC is a “totally-owned subsidiary” of that company. Further complicating the issue, Edwards said he doesn’t even plan to call his business Haverwell. He said, “Haverwell Market was always a placeholder and ultimately we intend to operate the facility as The Grove.”

Despite 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.

Haverwell Market’s proposed 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., planned to lease space in a strip shopping center proposed by developers Stephen Stapinski and King Weinstein.

It wasn’t easy going either for Caroline Pineau, whose marijuana shop Stem, 124 Washington St., was granted a special permit in June. She still faces a lawsuit from Lloyd Jennings, J. Bradford Brooks and Stavros Dimakis who oppose the permit.

Further, city councilors failed to give Stem a license for two parking spaces that the body, itself, required her to have. Councilors believed they had approved a police department-recommended parking license Dec. 3, but the vote actually fell short because of opposition from City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua and member absences. Councilors voted 4-1 to approve the use of two city-owned parking spaces on Phoenix Row, but five votes were required.

Besides Stem, councilors previously granted special permits to retailers Full Harvest Moonz, 101 Plaistow Road, CNA Stores, 558 River St.; and Mellow Fellows, 330 Amesbury Road. All shops must secure licensing from the state Cannabis Control Commission before being able to fully open for business.

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