City's 2nd pot shop plans November opening

Courtesy photoThe customer consultation area and retail area of CNA Stores on River Street in Haverhill.

A retail marijuana shop planned for River Street has received the final license it needs to operate, clearing the way for it to open next month.

The shop, CNA Stores Inc., is just west of downtown where the first pot shop to open in the city, Haverhill Stem, is now operating. The CNA shop will give Haverhill two marijuana retailers less than a mile apart.

Robert DiFazio, a service-disabled U.S. Navy veteran from Amesbury, plans to open the CNA shop in a small business plaza at 558 River St., Haverhill. 

DiFazio said he also plans to open another CNA shop at 77 Macy St. in Amesbury, along with a cannabis cultivation and growing facility at another location in Amesbury. 

Scott Winters, director of business development and community outreach for CNA (Completely Natural Alternative) Stores, said the business received its final license from the state's Cannabis Control Commission on Oct. 8. 

"We need to undergo one more inspection by the state to ensure we're following all required operational guidelines, then three days later we can open our doors to the public," Winters said. "Since we're a veteran-owned company, we're hoping to open on Veterans Day, which is Nov. 11."

He said the business has already received its occupancy permit from the city and expects the state inspection will take place within the next few weeks, allowing the business to open.

"The building we are leasing a portion of is 120 years old and used to be a maintenance building for trolley cars at the turn of the last century," he said.

Renovations include upgrading the building's exterior, resurfacing the parking lot, landscaping, installing two new decks and installing a variety of security measures, DiFazio said.

"We also installed two cameras that local residents asked us to point at certain areas of concern, in addition to other cameras,'' he said. "There was zero security prior to our renovations."

He said that for a period of time after opening, the business will be limited to 16 customers per hour under a request by the city. 

The first retail marijuana shop to open in the city, Haverhill Stem, is at 124 Washington St., the former location of the Sons of Italy lodge.

Two other pot shop locations in the city are under construction and awaiting final licenses from the state Cannabis Control Commission: Full Harvest Moonz on Plaistow Road and Mellow Fellows on Amesbury Road. Each of those stores received special permits from the city in 2019 as a necessary step before beginning construction and petitioning the state.

Phil Brown, spokesman for Mellow Fellows, said the business received its provisional license from the state Oct. 8 and that preliminary construction has taken place. He said major construction/renovations to the building that formerly housed the Seafood Etc. restaurant will be going out to bid.

"We hope to open by March," he said.

A proposal for a fifth marijuana sales shop in Haverhill failed to move forward when the City Council earlier this month nixed a special permit for the Frosty Nug shop because of traffic concerns.

Councilors voted 8-0 to deny the permit for 1181 Boston Road in the Ward Hill section of Bradford. Councilors said their opposition was because the shop would have caused traffic issues along the busy stretch of Route 125 next to the shop.

According to rules set by the state, Haverhill is allowed to have a maximum of six retail marijuana shops, based on the number of liquor stores in the city.


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