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Meeting held for 2nd proposed recreational-marijuana shop

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UPDATED, Sept. 4: A community meeting for the second recreational-marijuana shop advanced by the Select Board last spring was held Wednesday, Sept. 4.

Representatives of Eskar LLC of Boston, which aims to have an outlet in a former bank across from St. Paul's Cemetery at 23 Broadway, East Arlington, responded to the public's questions at 7 p.m. in the Lyons Hearing Room, second floor, Town Hall. Four people showed up.

Apothca, which operates a medical-marijuana shop on Water Street, plans to move to the current location of Swifty Printing in the Heights and expand to offer recreational marijuana. Neighbors asked an Apothca principal questions last June, and you can read about it here >>

Scant notice

The only public notice for the Sept. 4 meeting was a small legal advertisement in the Aug. 22 Advocate.

In addition to the community meeting, Eskar faces a lengthy state and local process before it opens.

In applying only to be an adult-use marijuana retailer, Eskar told the Select Board that Vice President Michael Aldi has more than a decade of experience "investing in and operating various successful ventures in the bar and restaurant industry in Massachusetts." That experience includes Boston Staples, ReelHouse and Pier 6

In its host-agreement application, Eskar said the marijuana shop is expected to create more than 30 jobs. "Diversity is important to Eskar," the application says, "and the firm plans to employ several diversity initiatives. Some examples include interviewing at least one diversity applicant for every open position. performing a gender pay gap audit once a year."

In the application, Eskar says it complies with the town's zoning bylaws regarding required distances from schools and day-care centers.

Northbridge store

In addition, Eskar plans to situate a 5,000-square-foot marijuana store in Northbridge, according to an April news report.

Michael R. Hunnewell is listed as the agent for Eskar and in charge of sales and operations The application says he has more than 10 years of government contracting expertise and over 15 years experience in high tech industries. He received his bachelor's in biology from Boston College and his MBA from Northeastern University.

Aldi handles real-estate holdings and capital management. He has more than a decade of experience in both the real estate and hospitality industry. He graduated from Suffolk University, with a bachelor's in communications.

Eskar's legal counsel is Raymond Bershtein. Nicolas Zitelli, product and genetics consultant, is owner and chief cannabis officer of High Times Holdings, formerly Trans-High Corp.

Sheldon Aberman is the engineering consultant. His hydroponic distribution company, Amerinada, merged with R&M Supply making his firm one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of hydroponic equipment in the United States.

The owner of 23 Broadway is Xiangping Chen.

Eskar's Hunnewell and Aldi have been asked to comment.

June 5, 2019: Community hears aims for Heights marijuana store

May 22, 2019: Two marijuana-shop proposals get go-ahead

This news summary was published Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, anc updated Sept. 4.

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