LITTLETON — Two candidates vying for retail marijuana licenses in Littleton— both parents with interests in community service — presented business plans to the board of selectmen Monday night.
Jenna Brownson, a mother of four, and Christine Nordhaus, a mother of two, have proposed to open Littleton Apothecary — what they call a curated cannabis “boutique” at 160 Ayer Road.
David Giannetta, a father of three, has pitched to open a shop called Community Care Collective at 531 King St.
According to a town bylaw established in May 2018, there can be no more than two licensed cannabis retailers in Littleton. If given approval from the town and state, the candidates said they’d hope to open doors early next year.
The proposed location for Community Care Collective is 531 King St., in between Transitions Counseling Center and Littleton Women’s Health. (Nicole DeFeudis / Lowell Sun)
In addition to selling locally grown cannabis, both applicants pledged to serve the community. Giannetta said he would provide paid leave — 20-25 hours a year per employee — for staff to volunteer at events and organizations in town.
“This can include, and is not limited to cleaning up public parks, volunteering at the Council on Aging, assisting veterans in need, assisting specific residents as advised by the Town of Littleton, working with the Littleton Public Schools to educate children, etc.,” Community Care Collective’s business plan states.
Community Care Collective would also pay the annual salary of a School Resource Officer to be positioned at the Department of Education’s school of choice.
Brownson and Nordhaus plan on using income from Littleton Apothecary to create the nonprofit Littleton Project, which would award grants to organizations in town. The duo would donate 5% of profits until they reach $500,000, plus every penny over that.
The two mothers hope to fully endow the Littleton Project within three years, which would allow them to donate $150,000 a year to the community. They envision funding public art installations, a town-wide concert, or a new tractor for the local nonprofit farm as examples.
“Our goal has always been to collaborate with the community,” said Nordhaus, whose most recent job was director of operations at the nonprofit Littleton Community Farm. “We’re all in this together.”
Both applicants still have a long way to go before approval.
If approved by selectmen, the candidates will enter Host Community Agreement negotiations. If an HCA is accepted, candidates must apply for a special permit from the planning board. They will also hold a community outreach meetings to field questions and receive input from residents.
After that, final approval is up to the state Cannabis Control Commission.
Should he get approval, Giannetta, currently a developer with Meadowbrook Realty Group, plans to purchase his product from Gardner cultivator Sanctuary Medicinals.
The proposed location for Community Care Collective is 531 King St., between Transitions Counseling Center and Littleton Women’s Health.
“Having a wholesale agreement in place with a local business bolsters both entities (Community Care Collective and Sanctuary Medicinals) as well as Littleton,” Giannetta said in an email.
Nordhaus and Brownson, both long-time volunteers in town, will partner with Farm Bug, a Charlton-based cooperative of local marijuana growers. They hope to package their products in compostable or reusable containers.
“It would make us feel good knowing that we’re supporting small, local growers,” said Brownson, who served on the Littleton Board of Selectmen for about a year and resigned in 2014.
Both candidates stressed that safety is the first priority. At Community Care Collective, shoppers will be required to book an appointment before arriving, and an unarmed guard will watch over business.
“I live here in Littleton with my family. I know that I can operate a secure and quality operation that is financially beneficial to the Town and will offer a variety of locally grown, safe products to our customers… And as a resident, a father and business owner, that is important to me,” Giannetta said.
Littleton Apothecary won’t open for the day until morning school traffic has died down, and staff will be trained for security. Plus, Nordhaus and Brownson boasted the proposed location’s concrete structure and loading dock for safe receipt of stock.
“Cannabis is coming to Littleton,” Nordhaus said. “One of them (the retailers) should be managed under the watchful eye of two mamas who have the best interest of everyone in Littleton at the center of their motivation,” she continued.
Nicole DeFeudis: @Nicole_DeFeudis on Twitter