Neighbor raises concerns about proposed pot store on Route 9 in Hadley

Staff Writer
Monday, June 28, 2021

HADLEY — A second marijuana dispensary in Hadley, proposed for a vacant building on Route 9, is raising concern from a neighbor that the business could impact her family’s quality of life and her ability to run her home occupation, a psychic readings business.

At the June 15 site plan review hearing for Hadleaf Holistic Greens to sell cannabis from 251 Russell St., a location most recently used as a fitness studio and before that as an auto body and sales shop, Planning Board members got feedback about possible impacts on the neighborhood.

“I’ve been very concerned since the first time I heard about them coming in next door,” said Margurite Miller of 249 Russell St., who added that a marijuana dispensary would be disruptive to her family and to how she coordinates psychic readings of the past, present and future, through palms and tarot cards, for a mostly appointment-based clientele.

Hadleaf originally had planned to use space at the Hampshire Mall, but that plan fell through when the bank providing capital to the mall owner raised fears that marijuana is not yet legal at the federal level.

Miller suggested that people buying cannabis products may consume ithem in the parking lot, with weed that needs to be smoked drifting onto her property. Other retailers, Miller said, have seen long lines of customers.

Thomas Reidy, an attorney with Bacon Wilson PC in Amherst, said he didn’t anticipate an impact. The parking for the business is east of the building, meaning the building itself will provide a buffer to Miller’s home to the west. In addition, security cameras will be used, no products are allowed to be consumed on site, and the business will remind customers not to wander from the site.

He added that most shops that have opened since adult-use marijuana sales first began in late 2018, including The Heirloom Collective at 457 Russell St. near the Amherst town line, have not had long lines. Reidy said that business, in fact, has caused no concerns for abutters.

If Hadleaf moves forward, it will be the last retailer allowed to open in town. Town Meeting put the two adult-use marijuana retailer cap in place in October 2018.

Still, Miller appealed to planners to protect her property from the cannabis retailer. “We need some kind of barrier,” Miller said. “We can’t be that open to them.”

The other objections voices came from Kim Lambert of Pine Hill Road, who said the name of the business should be changed because it implies that it is using the town’s soil to grow its product. She also doesn’t want the store to remain open until 8 p.m. on Sundays and is nervous about the associated increase in traffic.

Planning Board Chairman James Maksimoski said if approved, the business would be reviewed after one year to make sure it is in compliance with all town zoning. But he said that planners have little leeway to say no to the business.

The Planning Board will resume the hearing July 6 at 6:45 p.m.