Mellow Fellows Attorney Slams Impact Fees, Says Host Community Agreements ‘Not Even Close to Working’

The new attorney hired by the Haverhill trio known as the Mellow Fellows was in Boston Monday to testify on Beacon Hill asking lawmakers to allow the Cannabis Control Commission the explicit authority to regulate the Host Community Agreements marijuana shops must sign before opening up shop. Retained by Phil Brown, Tim Riley and Charles Emery, Jim Smith of Boston’s Smith, Costello and Crawford, spoke before the Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy Monday to argue against the community impact fee that businesses must pay to the cities where they do business. In Haverhill, for example, retailers have thus far agreed to pay three percent of gross proceeds for a period of five years when inking HCAs with Mayor James J. Fiorentini. “Simply stated, they don’t work. It is not working; it isn’t even close to working.

Council to Hold Both Marijuana Permit Hearings for Mellow Fellows, Haverwell on Aug. 20

After months of debate, the battle over Amesbury Road’s dueling marijuana shops will be heard once and for all on Tuesday, Aug. 20. At Tuesday night’s Haverhill City Council meeting, the panel decided both Mellow Fellows and Haverwell Market will present their business plans and face members of the public during a special permit meeting on the same night before councilors vote to approve or deny them the right to open in the city. As expected given the conflict of interest he faces as the landlord of the 330 Amesbury Road property eyed by the Mellow Fellows, Councilor Michael S. McGonagle abstained from the vote, and although Joseph J. Bevilacqua voted against the measure, it still passed, receiving six votes. Councilor William J. Macek was absent from the meeting.

Council to Decide Amesbury Road Marijuana Special Permit Procedure Tuesday Night

Attention, Amesbury Road neighbors: The countdown is officially on to decide which—if any—marijuana shops are coming to town. At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Haverhill councilors plan to formally outline the plan of action for the special permit meeting to decide how and when applications for 399 Amesbury Road’s Haverwell Market and 330 Amesbury Road’s Mellow Fellows will be heard. As WHAV exclusively reported last week, the initial plan outlined by Council President John A. Michitson is to have both shops detail their business plans on Tuesday, Aug. 20 in public hearings before the nine-member panel votes to approve or deny their permits. Adding two unexpected wrinkles to the proceedings: The shops are within one-half mile of one another and both dispute which company submitted their completed application to the city first.

Jennings, Brooks Ask Judge to Dismiss Pineau’s Civil Suit; Deny Marijuana Extortion Claims

The City of Haverhill has issued Caroline Pineau her special permit to sell marijuana at 124 Washington St., but that doesn’t mean it’s back to business as usual. Earlier this month, Lloyd Jennings and J. Bradford Brooks, the businessmen opposing her shop Stem, petitioned a superior court judge to dismiss the civil suit alleging that they extorted and intimidated her for their own financial gain. The suit—backed by Boston attorneys Scott A. Schlager and Alvin S. Nathanson—includes depositions of Jennings and Brooks, as well as Pineau, offering new insight into the months’ long legal battle. As WHAV exclusively reported, Pineau has faced scrutiny over Stem ever since Jennings and Brooks were joined by City Council hopeful and Mark’s Deli owner Stavros Dimakis to file a land court suit arguing that her shop was improperly zoned for the downtown business district. That suit was bounced back and forth from federal court in an unsuccessful effort to delay Pineau’s special permit hearing, which went on as scheduled June 18.

Amesbury Road Marijuana Shop Battle Continues as Mellow Fellows, Haverwell Vie for Special Permits

To put it bluntly, when it comes to the special permit process regarding the marijuana shops hoping to open on Haverhill’s Amesbury Road, it’s become a “they-said, they-said” battle that doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. So far, Stem, Full Harvest Moonz and CNA Stores have been given permission to do business in the city, with Mellow Fellows and Haverwell Market now preparing to go before the Council to plead their case ahead of Cannabis Control Commission licensing. The only problem: Both locations are within one half-mile of one another—and each is claiming they were the first to finalize their application to the city, giving them priority. Internal city documents reviewed by WHAV indicate Mellow Fellows, hoping to open at the former Seafood Etc. property at 339 Amesbury Road, was the first to be approved at 10:47 a.m. on July 2, with Haverwell receiving approval at 11:01 a.m.

Haverwell’s attorney Bill Faraci disputes this timeline, telling WHAV his client was denied due process—especially after filing initial application paperwork with the city on April 12.

Haverhill Council Grants Marijuana Shop CNA Stores Special Permit to Open on River Street

Veteran-owned and operated CNA Stores is the third retail marijuana shop to receive a special permit from Haverhill’s City Council, with the River Street location winning approval 7-1 Tuesday night to do business in the city. As in previous marijuana-related Council votes, Michael S. McGonagle abstained from the vote, as he owns the Amesbury Road property being eyed by the Mellow Fellows for their shop. Joseph J. Bevilacqua cast the lone no vote for CNA’s effort. CEO Robert DiFazio unveiled plans for CNA’s 1,800 sq. ft.

Haverhill Council Considers Permit for River Street Marijuana Shop CNA Stores Tuesday

Haverhill city councilors Tuesday night will hear from River Street marijuana shop hopefuls Robert DiFazio and Billie Haggard during the latest special permit session, ahead of the Amesbury-based entrepreneurs’ plan to do business at 558 River St. Carrying a tagline of “a completely natural alternative,” CNA plans to sell product obtained from wholesaler Sanctuary Medicinals at their 4,000 sq. ft. shop, which was preliminarily approved by Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini in December 2018 by way of a Host Community Agreement, one of the several necessary steps required to do business before final licenses are granted by the state Cannabis Control Commission. As outlined in their agreement, CNA plans to pay the City of Haverhill three percent of gross sales annually for five years, along with a $25,000 charitable contribution.

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

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.