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City signs agreement with marijuana growers | News

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Beverly – The city has signed an agreement to set up a marijuana-growing company in a building on Sam Fonzo Road.

Baked Beans Farm, a new company formed by a husband-and-wife team, plans to grow about 2,000 pounds of marijuana annually on the site, according to David Essig, the company’s founder and CEO.

“I’m really excited to be in Beverly,” he said.

Under a 2016 state law that legalized recreational marijuana, Beverly is required to allow at least four marijuana companies to operate in the city. It has signed agreements to set up two retail marijuana stores located at 13 Enon Street and 350 Rantoul Street, although neither has yet opened.

The work at Sam Fonzo Drive is solely dedicated to growing marijuana and manufacturing products such as foods and beverages. It is not a retail store. In fact, Isig said the public will not be allowed to enter the site due to the strict security rules surrounding the potting. It can only be sold to marijuana dispensaries, not to the general public.

The business will be based in the Manufacturing Building at 150 Sam Fonzo Drive, near Beverly Airport. Essig said the growing area for marijuana will be about 10,000 square feet.

The host community agreement between the city and Baked Beans Farm requires the company to pay the city 3% of its total revenue for a five-year period as an “impact fee,” to offset the administrative, compliance and other costs of the hosting city’s marijuana business. 3% is the same amount the city agreed to with the two retail marijuana businesses.

According to the company’s proposal to the city, Baked Beans Farm will spend $6 million to get the operation up and running. The company will generate $4.2 million in revenue in its second year of operation and $15.3 million in its third, fourth and fifth years, according to the proposal. Three percent of the $15.2 million is $456,000.

Essig said Baked Beans Farm will use “100%” of green energy, which the city has confirmed as part of the negotiations. There will be more than 100 security cameras on site, with live video streaming to the Massachusetts Commission on Cannabis Control.

Essig, 39, and his wife, Jennifer, are certified public accountants who live in South Boston and have two young children. He said he started growing marijuana in his home when it became legal five years ago.

“It really worked and I saw a great opportunity coming in the market,” he said. My wife said, “I have a good job, go do this.” We wrote a business plan and two years later we got the HCA (Host Community Agreement).”

Isig said he was familiar with Beverly because his sister attended Endicott College. He said the building on Sam Fonzo Drive, which he rents, is ideal for a growing marijuana business, and is in a good location because it’s not near any homes.

“Our biggest neighbor is the airport,” he said.

Essig said the company’s projected size of about 2,000 pounds per year of marijuana makes it “very small” among marijuana growers. Some facilities are 10 times larger, he said.

“We are one step above the small business,” he said. Baked Beans Farms has two other partners, Andrew Hawes, of Charlestown, and Robert Dolins, of Groton.

Essage said Massachusetts has strict testing requirements for the marijuana the company will produce to ensure its safety. Rooms should be tightly closed and maintained at the appropriate temperature and humidity.

“We focus on really high-quality strains,” he said. “You’re trying to create an ideal environment for plant growth.”

Cooked bean farms still need approval from the state’s cannabis control commission. It may be a year before the company opens, Isig said. He plans to start with about 20 employees.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, via email at pleaighton@salemnews.comOr on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, via email at pleaighton@salemnews.comOr on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.

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