US (MA): After permit denial, commercial pot farmer tries again in Sheffield

Jon Piasecki wants to grow his business — and potentially 80,000 square feet of cannabis. But in a battle that is playing out more and more in communities around the Berkshires, he’s coming up against opposition from community members who are concerned about their neighborhood going to pot.

Piasecki, a landscape designer who operates Wiseacre Farm, a 5,000-square-foot cannabis farm in West Stockbridge, is making his second attempt to increase his yield in the sprawling town of Sheffield. He was denied a permit in March to grow 95,000 square feet of crops off Polikoff Road after sustained opposition by abutters.

The board also denied another permit to another grower for a farm on the same road. This time, he has a lease option for an 18-acre parcel near Rannapo and Bull Hill roads in Ashley Falls, land that he said was a cornfield for about 50 years.

Piasecki, who says he is working to develop strains of cannabis suited to the New England climate, recently negotiated a host community agreement with the town Select Board. In the next two weeks, both the Ashley Falls Conservation Commission and Historic District Commission will review the plans, since the parcel sits in the historic zoning overlay.


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