LENOX — Don’t expect home delivery of recreational marijuana from companies like Amazon or Door Dash in the foreseeable future.
However, if Town Hall and state regulators approve, the only adult recreational marijuana business in Lenox will be allowed to drive its products to verified adult purchasers. Deliveries would be limited to residences, not to hotels or other businesses, and only within the town.
Kapha Cannabis Dispensary, which opened in March at 439 Pittsfield Road (Route 7/20), is seeking a permit through a host community agreement with the town to begin home delivery through a new affiliated company, Krishna Lenox Delivery LLC.
Both corporations are owned by Navin Shah, president of the Berkshire Hotels Group. Final details of the host community agreement with the town are being worked out with KP Law, the town counsel, Kapha’s General Manager Robert Cohen told The Eagle on Tuesday. Cohen is also director of operations for Shah’s BHG LLC.
“We’re waiting for them to get back to me with a final draft of the agreement,” Cohen said. The next step would be to seek approval of the agreement from the Select Board, potentially in about a month, followed by a license application to state regulators after obtaining a special permit from the Lenox Zoning Board of Appeals.
Assuming an eventual green light from the Cannabis Control Commission in Boston, Cohen expects the delivery operation to be up and running in late 2023 or early 2024. As of now, it would appear to be the only home delivery service operating in Berkshire County.
Theory Wellness in Great Barrington, the county’s first recreational marijuana dispensary, offered home delivery in that town and several adjoining communities, even as far north as Pittsfield, through a courier service for five months. But Theory closed it last February due to lack of demand, said Thomas Winstanley, the company’s marketing director.
“We gave it a really good shot, but the demand wasn’t quite there like we had seen in Chicopee and Bridgewater, where we have deliveries,” he noted. “It didn’t make a ton of sense after we gave it a few months; the volume just didn’t sustain the numbers we were expecting.”
Cohen hopes that based on anticipated enthusiasm from customers, demand would be sufficiently robust in Lenox. “There’s still a stigma for some folks driving to a dispensary, getting out and walking in,” he said. “There’s also an advantage for those who aren’t as mobile, in an older demographic.”
In December 2020, the Lenox zoning board approved a special permit for the first of only two recreational marijuana retailers allowed in the town. So far, Kapha has the field to itself.
In a public hearing last summer for the proposed operation, Cohen emphasized that delivery would be limited to Lenox. But Krishna Delivery could serve a potential second retail dispensary in the town, if one were to open.
Security systems would be required for the unmarked van, including monitoring systems, cameras, GPS and tracking of deliveries from Kapha to adult customers in person. They would have to prove their identity through a driver’s license or passport to match the name of the individual who ordered the products.
Two unarmed agents would be involved in all runs, and one would stay with the van during deliveries to the customer.
The fee-based delivery itself would be a very simple, low-profile operation, Cohen stated, limited to transferring products from Kapha’s store to customers. Delivery hours would roughly parallel the retailer’s operating hours.
Business results for Kapha are close to meeting projections so far, Cohen said, following a robust summer as sales continue increasing, especially on weekends, with more regular local customers. But there are seasonal ups and downs, similar to other local businesses.
State regulations allow delivery of adult-use marijuana products by a licensed delivery-only operation or by a marijuana establishment with a delivery endorsement limited to the municipality identified as the licensee’s place of business.
Home delivery is also permitted in any city or town that allows for retail sales within its borders. whether or not a retailer is operational; or any municipality which, after receiving notice from the commission, has notified the regulators that delivery may operate within its borders.
In addition to local government approval through a host community agreement, only companies that have applied and secured a delivery license from the commission will be permitted to operate.
Most major Berkshire County communities — including Pittsfield, North Adams, Adams, Dalton and Great Barrington — have zoning in place that permits home delivery of adult-use marijuana, according to the state’s Cannabis Control Commission’s municipal zoning tracker.