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Tech investor backs ‘Mountaintop’ marijuana venture in Windsor

Marijuana leaves

A new company, Mountaintop Cannabis Cultivators LLC, will described its plan for a 10-acre site off Route 8 in Windsor at a Community Outreach meeting Dec. 18. 

WINDSOR — If weather was going to discourage a cannabis grower in Windsor, it took its best shot last year.

That’s when a hard frost in September hit the six plants Nathan Wagner was cultivating outdoors for personal use at his property on Route 8A north of Windsor center.

The dates roll off his tongue. “September 19, 20, 21 and 22,” he said Monday of the frost. “It stopped growth entirely.”

Undaunted, Wagner is moving forward with a plan to set up the largest outdoor cultivation footprint now allowed by the Cannabis Control Commission: up to 100,000 square feet of plants, the same size as the FFD Enterprises MA growing site on Bullards Crossing Road Hinsdale.

But first, Mountaintop Cannabis Cultivators LLC needs to pitch its plan to Windsor residents, at a gathering set for 2 p.m. Dec. 18 in Town Hall and by videoconference.

That early frost didn’t kill Wagner’s ambition, nor did it discourage his “angel” investor, Christopher Greendale of Stockbridge.

“It’s the only property I have,” Wagner said of his 31-acre parcel at 1335 Savoy Road (Route 8A). “I’ve taken into account all the risks associated with it. Our investor still feels it’s a viable project. If you can mitigate that frost … you can get another month out of the growing season,” he said, comparing to cultivation on lower elevations in the Berkshires.

“We have different strains that finish at different times,” Wagner said. “We’ll be able to stretch it out a little bit.”

Joining Wagner and Greendale in the venture are Tiffany Landry and Michael Kenyon. Considering the team involved, they’re flipping the playbook: The people behind Mountaintop Cannabis Cultivators are going “market to farm.”

That’s because Wagner, Landry and Greendale are all associated with the Elm Street Market in Stockbridge — Wagner as manager, Landry as co-owner and Greendale as landlord and co-owner.

Wagner and Landry previously worked together at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge. They joined with Greendale, a native New Zealander and tech-sector entrepreneur, to open the market in 2020.

During a lull after the lunch trade Monday, Wagner described steps that lie ahead for the Windsor cannabis project.

After this month’s required Community Outreach meeting, Mountaintop Cannabis will complete negotiations on a host community agreement with the Select Board. The parties have agreed to a 3-percent local impact fee based on the value of cannabis produced. That’s what Mountaintop will pay Windsor for two years, with the percentage then to be renegotiated.

Wagner said he has served his friend Kenyon as a caregiver, under laws regarding medical cannabis patients. That included growing plants together for seven years.

“We’ve always had our hands in the dirt, so to speak,” Wagner said. “We’re just a bunch of simple guys who came up with a great plan.”

If it all gets the green light, the farm would lease 10 acres from Wagner. The company would invest $1.6 million, with about $500,000 going to construction of an 18-by-36-foot greenhouse, other small work areas, site preparation and a security system, including fencing that Wagner said will cost up to $75,000.

“That’s it. We’re really low impact,” he said of the project’s footprint. The project’s financial plan provides for about $1 million in working capital, Wagner said.

The growing area would be located on the southwest side of his property, with a buffer from both a neighbor and the road. The project will need to replace a culvert. The site design is being prepared by Greylock Design Associates of Lenox.

Wagner said that while considerable paperwork lies ahead, Mountaintop may debut in 2022. “We are hopeful that we’ll get in the ground this (coming) year, even if for a partial season.”

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com and 413-588-8341.

Managing editor for innovation

Larry Parnass joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, CommonWealth Magazine and with the Reuters news service.

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