Lynn's Only Woman-Owned Cannabis Dispensary Opens its Doors


 By Paul Halloran |  Item Live | June 23, 2022

When Heather Hannon set out to open a cannabis shop in Lynn, it was with a goal to educate people on the healing benefits of the plant. 

“I’m trying to break the stigma,” said Hannon. “I really believe in the helping aspects of cannabis.”

Her dispensary, Essex Apothecary, is the only woman-owned cannabis shop in the city. Located at 233 Western Ave., it opened with a ribbon cutting on June 3 and offers a diverse product selection, including flower, tincture, edibles, concentrates, and more. 

Essex Apothecary Owner Heather Hannon cuts the ribbon to open her dispensary, surrounded by staff and Lynn city officials. (provided by Paul Halloran)

Hannon wants to provide customers with a personalized cannabis experience.

“Because everybody is different and reacts differently to different things, our intent is to listen to our customers and suggest products that can assist them,” she said.

A Texas native, Hannon lives in Lynn. She has a math and science background, as well as a business degree, and previously worked in pharmaceuticals. 

“I love that research and development is now being done on the positive aspects of cannabis,” she said. 

Some of the potential benefits include reducing inflammation and muscle tension, managing chronic pain, alleviating anxiety, helping with relaxation and sleep, and stimulating appetite and weight gain in certain patients.

“When my father was going through chemo, it helped him get an appetite,” said Hannon. 

A single mother, Hannon is proud to have opened a woman-run business. She also sits on the board of the Lynn Home for Women and believes that, with will and tenacity, women can accomplish anything. She plans to support other women and local artisans by selling cannabis-related merchandise such as clothing, books, candles and mugs, as well as collaborating with other neighborhood businesses. Additionally, she is selecting local artists to display their work, with all proceeds from sales going directly to the artists. 

The decorative mural adorning the outside of the dispensary was created by Studio Jade in collaboration with artist Melido Feliz Perez and mural painter Kristian Rodriguez. Inside, imagery of alchemical tools—beakers, glass tubes and statues—adorns the wallpaper as a nod to the apothecaries of old.

In addition to the in-store experience, Essex Apothecary offers online ordering for same-day pick-up. All shoppers must be at least 21 years of age or older. 

Cannabis, which is legal in Massachusetts for medical and recreational use, has become a huge revenue source for the state. Shoppers have spent more than $3 billion at more than 200 licensed dispensaries and delivery services since sales first launched in November 2018. In mid-May, the Cannabis Control Commission announced that the state had crossed the $3 billion threshold. The state is collecting more tax revenue from cannabis than alcohol. 

Hannon says the revenue will also be beneficial to Lynn. She signed a host community agreement, requiring the dispensary to provide the city with 6 percent of annual gross revenues, when factoring in the 3 percent local option tax in Lynn.

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