State Land Court Judge Denies Request to Close Haverhill Pot Shop; Dismisses All Zoning Claims

A state Land Court judge today denied an emergency request to close a newly opened retail marijuana shop in downtown Haverhill, while also throwing out a larger and earlier zoning challenge. The decisions by Judge Robert E. Foster allow Stem, owned by Caroline Pineau at 124 Washington St., to remain open. Last Saturday, Stem, became the first of four permitted adult-use marijuana stores to open in the city. Foster said the request by opponents Stavros Dimakis of Mark’s Deli and Realtor J. Bradford Brooks and Lloyd Jennings, owners of 128-130 Washington St., for an emergency closure order became moot when the judge ruled against them on the larger city zoning challenge. “Therefore, the plaintiffs by definition have no likelihood of success on the merits of their claim.

Traffic Concerns Dominate First Look at Proposed Ward Hill Area Marijuana Shop

Neighbors’ traffic concerns dominated the public’s first look last night at a proposed adult-use marijuana store near Ward Hill. During a remote community outreach meeting Monday night, officials of Frosty Nug, proposed for 1181 Boston Road, acknowledged heavy, peak-hour traffic. However, traffic consultant Scott Thornton of Vanasse & Associates, Andover, said traffic will still be less than other possible uses of the property. “For Dunkin’ Donuts, and I’ve permitted a number of those, we typically look at between 200 and 300 trips during the peak hours, which is in the morning. It’s just a drop in the bucket.

Haverhill’s First Marijuana Shop Opens, But Faces Renewed Court Challenge Today

Haverhill’s first recreational marijuana shop opened quietly this past Saturday with curbside pickup, but opponents will be in court today asking a judge to close the business. Caroline Pineau, CEO and owner of Stem, 124 Washington St., told WHAV the store sold out every appointment Saturday and Sunday and all operations went according to plan despite added COVID-19 related controls. “Customers left happy and excited, and there was really no line. The appointment system worked great,” she said. Pineau explained the appointment system is a two-step process where patrons are first required to book an appointment and then, for the time being, order online.

Proposed Ward Hill Area Retail Marijuana Store Plans Remote Community Outreach June 1

What could be Haverhill’s fifth adult-use marijuana store—proposed for 1181 Boston Road in Ward Hill—goes before the public next Monday night. The developers of what would be called “Frosty Nug” plan a required community outreach meeting June 1 at 6 p.m. Unlike others who pitched proposals before the current health pandemic, the hearing will take place online. The Boston Road site has been used for many years as a used car dealership. This is the first step in the process and no approvals will be requested or granted at the meeting. The company must obtain a special permit from the Haverhill City Council, a host agreement from Mayor James J. Fiorentini and permission from the state Cannabis Control Commission before it may begin operating.

Haverhill Councilors Remove Last Local Hurdle for Stem Marijuana Shop Opening; Grants Parking License

The second time was a charm last night for a downtown marijuana retailer trying to secure two required parking spaces for its business. Haverhill Stem, at 124 Washington St., had been granted a special permit to operate with the stipulation that they secure a parking license to help ensure the safe exchange of product and money. Caroline Pineau, the owner of the company, brought that request to the city council last month but as a result of a no vote by Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua and the unusual absence of four other city council members, she was unable to muster the five votes necessary to secure the license. Because of the circumstances, Pineau was given the opportunity to resubmit her petition and with a full complement of councilors on hand, was awarded the use of two city-owned parking spaces on Phoenix Row by a vote of seven to one with Bevilacqua opposed and Councilor Michael S. McGonagle leaving the room because of his involvement with the Amesbury Road building Mellow Fellows plans to rent for its marijuana business.

City Signs Pact with Mellow Fellows, But Concedes Gift to School Drug Prevention Programs ‘Voluntary’

While Mayor James J. Fiorentini has signed the fourth and last host community agreement with a recreational marijuana retailer, questions remain as to whether the city can count on money from the businesses for substance abuse prevention programs.

Last Friday, Fiorentini signed an agreement with Mellow Fellows for its 330 Amesbury Road location. It calls for, among other things, a Community Impact Fee of 3% of gross sales to paid to Haverhill for five years. When city councilors approved Mellow fellows’ special permit last August, members conditioned approval on the operation also paying the school department $22,000 a year for three years. Since then, U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling has called into question the legality of those extra payments. Taking no chances, Fiorentini told WHAV Tuesday, the city now considers any extra contributions above the state-allowed 3% as “voluntary.”

School pediatrician John L. Maddox first championed the idea last May of asking retailers to pay for substance abuse prevention and addiction programs be paid by applicants.

Haverhill Councilors to Reconsider Vote of Required Parking Licenses for Downtown Marijuana Retailer

Haverhill city councilors will try again tonight to grant licenses for two parking spaces—that the body, itself, required—to a planned downtown marijuana retailer. Early last month, councilors defeated the police department-recommended parking license for Haverhill Stem, 124 Washington St., when the vote fell short because of opposition from City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua and an unusual number of member absences. Councilors voted 4-1 to approve the use of two city-owned parking spaces on Phoenix Row, but five votes were required. Normally, the City Council does not allow a repeat petition for six months, but its rules allow exceptions. All but two city councilors last week consented in writing to allowing the parking license to return to the agenda.

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

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.