Medical marijuana facility clears initial Great Barrington hurdle
GREAT BARRINGTON — Officials have signed off on a proposal to construct a medical marijuana dispensary north of town.
With little discussion, the Select Board on Monday night voted unanimously to send a letter of non-opposition to the state Department of Public Health to allow construction of the facility on a vacant lot at 394 Stockbridge Road.
Theory Wellness, a Stoneham-based corporation founded in September 2015, wants to locate the facility in Great Barrington because it is the "hub" of Southern Berkshire, according to company CEO Brendan Pollock.
He said the company has presented a security plan to Police Chief William R. Walsh, who has approved it.
The company's president, Nicholas Friedman, is a Berkshire native whose father is well-known local activist Benno Friedman.
There are presently four other applications for medical marijuana facilities under consideration in Berkshire County. There are three in Pittsfield, all of which received city approval, and are presently moving through the state's stiff regulatory process.
Another company has submitted an application in Lee, where the Select Board has held off on approving a letter of non-opposition amid concerns by a group of residents and Police Chief Jeffrey Roosa.
The final decision will be up to the state Department of Public Health. To date, the state has rejected a number of applications filed in Berkshire County for a dispensary. The nearest dispensary is in Northampton.
The dispensaries are high-security facilities that permit only licensed buyers to purchase marijuana.
The proposed site in Great Barrington is a vacant lot between the Kmart Plaza and the former Pete's Motors building, now Laramee's Cleaners.
Town bylaws require a 200-foot buffer zone between the facility and any school, day care center or other business that would involve children.
Since that would not be an issue, the plan, if it earns a state license, would require site plan review by the Planning Board and a building permit, according to Town Planner Christopher Rembold.
In 2012, town residents approved a referendum question supporting the introduction of a medical marijuana dispensary in town. That, according to Select Board Chairman Sean Stanton, was the principal impetus for his board's decision to issue the letter.
"The question had about a 70 percent approval," said Stanton. "I don't know where we would be if we went against that."
Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.
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