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Athol signs Host Community Agreement for marijuana cultivation business

  • Paul Pace, Frank Pace and Paul Pace, owners of Root 2 Naturals LLC, sought approval from the Athol Selectboard Tuesday night to finalize a host community agreement for a marijuana cultivation business to be located at 201 Daniel Shays Highway, former site of Hancock Motors. Greg Vine

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 10/16/2019 9:55:15 PM
Modified: 10/17/2019 4:20:28 PM

ATHOL – The Selectboard Tuesday night approved a Host Community Agreement with Root 2 Naturals, LLC, a company planning to establish a marijuana cultivation business at 201 Daniel Shays Hwy., Route 202. Paul Pace represented fellow owners Frank Pace, his brother, and Paul Pace, his father, before the board.

“We’re opening at the former Hancock Motors,” Pace told the board. “We’re going to be a cannabis microbusiness, which is a small Tier I cultivation, which is below 5,000 square feet. Included with that is the manufacturing, which is the production of concentrates, edibles, and things of that nature.”

He said the business will be all organic — all solventless. They anticipate hiring between six and eight people, with Athol residents given priority in the hiring.

“We’re here tonight to hopefully get the host community agreement signed,” said Pace, “which stipulates that the town gets three percent of annual gross revenue. In addition to that, there’s a $2,500 one-time payment, once we do receive our license from the Cannabis Control Commission, as well as $5,000 per year charitable donation. We’ll obviously listen to the Selectboard as to where the money is most needed in town.”

Board Chair Rebecca Bialecki asked if construction was planned at the business site.

Pace said presently they are just renovating the existing facility and doing all new landscaping. “We’ve cleaned it up substantially since we purchased the property,” he said. “Right now, we’re just waiting on final go-aheads from (the) Conservation Commission to move forward with the building permit.” He said there will be new roofing, and a new fence around the property.

There will be 24-hour camera surveillance, monitored through American Alarm. “Overall,” he said, “the property will be much nicer than it is now; hopefully put to good use. Hopefully, we can hire some nice Athol residents to work with us. It can be a mutually beneficial relationship. We want to be part of the Athol business community.”

Athol Planning and Development Director Eric Smith said the Paces had been to the Planning Board and had “submitted the most comprehensive ownership plan we’ve seen.”

The Selectboard, with member Holly Young absent, voted unanimously, with little discussion, to approve the agreement.

The Paces all hail from the Stoneham-Woburn area. When asked after their meeting with the board why they picked Athol for their business, Paul Pace said, “We were looking for a place and we have a friend in this area who suggested we come look at the location on Daniel Shays Highway. So, we came out and determined it seemed to fit all our needs and decided to move on it.”

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