Marijuana grow facility proposed in Lanesborough

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LANESBOROUGH — A Milford collaborative is eyeing a local farm as a place to grow millions of dollars worth of marijuana with an earnings potential valued in the tens of thousands of dollars for the town.

New England Agriculture Technologies (NEAgTech) proposes to buy up to seven acres of land from Gray Raven Farm owners Dan and Sharon Bergeron. On it, NEAgTech would build up to 18 commercial greenhouses, surrounded by a solar array, in which to grow marijuana. The marijuana then would be sold to retailers.

Company officials say the facility will be shielded from public view and have around-the-clock electronic security.

Depending on the size of the facility, the operation could generate more than $100,000 in tax revenue for Lanesborough, according to NEAgTech.

"Eighteen greenhouses will generate a significant amount of money, a very good source of revenue for the town," said Robert Wolf, a Massachusetts attorney and one of two principal partners in NEAgTech.

The other principal partner, Edward Whitaker, is CEO of Second Generation Energy in Milford and has 10 years experience developing solar power projects.

The two-page proposal Wolf submitted to the Select Board on Monday night outlines a scenario whereby one of the company's marijuana growing facilities could earn $2.9 million annually, assuming 10 greenhouse each produce 290 pounds of pot valued at $1,000 per pound. Factor in a 3 percent local tax, and that could earn a municipality $156,600.

Accompanied by the Bergerons, Wolf made his initial pitch for support from Lanesborough's three Selectmen, one taken aback by the project.

"I'm just overwhelmed here," said Selectman Robert Ericson.

Located just north of St. Luke's Episcopal Church on Route 7, Gray Raven won't be adding recreational pot to its agricultural offerings — for now.

"Sharon and I do not want a retail business selling cannabis, not at this time," said Dan Bergeron.

Wolf told town officials his firm would be the landlord of the pot farm, leasing out the greenhouses to marijuana growers, group cooperatives and traditional agriculture producers. He said NEAgTech will immediately seek the necessary local permits and state license under the commonwealth's new cannabis control regulations.

The company bills itself as a collaboration of legal and renewable energy professionals with a staff of farming, real estate and municipal government expertise ready to support the burgeoning cannabis industry in Massachusetts.

"We provide the licensing and compliance support, greenhouse structure, air filtration/circulation systems, computerized climate control systems, irrigation, and everything in between," according to NEAgTech's website.Wolf emphasized the marijuana greenhouse complex would produce very little waste and employ a water recycling/reuse system as well as have on-site septic.

Ronald Tinkham and Mark Siegars, who sit on several town boards, told the Selectmen they were concerned the marijuana production process could contaminate the area's ground water.

The owners wouldn't allow it.

"We're dedicated to growing organic cannabis," said Dan Bergeron.

Sharon Bergeron added, "I don't believe in pesticides."

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com and 413-496-6233.


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