essex ma marijuana store

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ESSEX — Although retail pot shops are not allowed in Ipswich, one in Essex would literally be zero feet away.

If approved, the marijuana store and growing facility will occupy the building across the street from Down River Ice Cream on Route 133.

However, the proposal hasn’t been well received by some residents of the nearby Northgate Road in Ipswich, which, along with Route 133, is one of the primary access roads to Crane beach.

The store is proposed for a 5,622-square-foot building that sits on a one-acre lot — partially demarcated by the Ipswich town line.

The property was put on the market for $799,000 and is under agreement, according to one Realtor’s website.

With an address of 242 Wise Ave., the building was most recently occupied by Thompson Medical Associates, Stix Drum Instruction, and Shea Brothers Upholstering.

The property is owned by Mark Shea, according to the Massachusetts Property Map.

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The company behind the marijuana store and cultivation facility is BB Botanics LLC of Woburn. The principals, John and Theresa Tremblay, failed in their first attempt to open an outlet at 166-168 Eastern Ave., site of the Conomo Point Antiques store.

They own Duct Works Engineering of Woburn, which they founded in May 1997.

In 2016, Essex voters joined those in 259 other Massachusetts communities that passed the referendum allowing recreational marijuana in the state.

In November 2018, Essex voters rejected a local proposal to ban marijuana stores in town.

At an online community outreach presentation on Thursday, Andrew Gold extolled the Tremblays’ work ethic and said they would run “a socially responsible corporation that will not be a nuisance to the community, as defined by law.”

In the presentation — around 35 people signed on — Gold said the owners expect customers to come from Essex and the surrounding communities of Ipswich, Hamilton, Wenham, Manchester, and Gloucester.

The Tremblays forecast around 600 transactions a week, he added.

Gold noted that there are already marijuana stores, or stores in progress, in Gloucester, Georgetown, Rowley, and Amesbury.

Planning board member Westley Burnham said there are some zoning articles on the warrant for town meeting on June 13.

The first would require marijuana establishments (ME) to be licensed and to sign host agreements with the town.

Gold said BB Botanics has one, which he expected to be worth around $100,000 a year to the town in new taxes.

Another would limit the number of marijuana retailers to one, which, the zoning article noted, is one-fifth the number of liquor stores.

There are also two other articles related to how far away MEs should be from residences.

Burnham said a citizen’s position set the limit at 500 feet. However, when planners reviewed the maps, they found one residence inside the limit.

The planning board then submitted a second article that put the set back at 400 feet.

Also at the outreach meeting, Police Chief Paul Francis said a police officer will be on duty at the store, but the cost would be borne by BB Botanics.

“The idea is the community will not be paying for anything,” Gold agreed.

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