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New England Regional Dispensary

Clarksburg's first cannabis store set to open by May

ClarksburgCannabis (copy)

John Cellana, left, and Chad Cellana are transforming the former sawmill behind them into a retail cannabis shop just off Route 8 in Clarksburg.

CLARKSBURG — Come May, the New England Regional Dispensary could be the third pot shop in the Northern Berkshires.

The Clarksburg outlet has gained the necessary approvals from the Cannabis Control Commission and now awaits its final license, which is issued at the monthly meeting of the commission.

“We’re shooting for the first week of May to have an opening,” Chad Cellana, who is opening the business with his uncle, John Cellana, told The Eagle last week. “The next commission meeting is April 14. There’s no sure thing we’re on that docket, but we’re in the final queue, so if it’s not April, it’ll be the May meeting.”

Area residents may have seen a billboard in North Adams promoting the store in recent months, which read, “OPENING SOON!” The Cellanas are planning another billboard in Adams, this time with a hard opening date.

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While recreational cannabis dispensaries are opening rapidly in Berkshire County and nearby Vermont, Chad Cellana said the new store could make Clarksburg a destination.

“It’s going to bring people here. I am doing some collaborations with local food trucks. It could pave the way for another shop opening in the future. … I think the sky’s the limit,” Chad Cellana said.

“I’m from here, so I’m trying to keep our products local and to hire a lot of local people,” Cellana added. “We’ve brought on eight employees from the area, North Adams, Clarksburg, Vermont and we’re excited to get rolling.”

Once the dispensary opens in a former sawmill building, the owners hope to open a 20,000-square-foot indoor-cultivation operation at the same 7.2-acre location, 34 Cross Road, which is just off Route 8 near Gordy’s Garage.

A dispensary with a colorful mural on the outside

The New England Regional Dispensary on Cross Road in Clarksburg could be the third pot shop in the Northern Berkshires when it opens.

In 2019, their company, New England Reginal Dispensary LLC, signed a host community agreement with the town for the cultivation operation and in 2021 it was given a provisional license to continue development plans.

Clarksburg Town Manager Carl McKinney said a dispensary would help increase the town’s revenue.

“Clarksburg was one of the first municipalities to approve zoning for the marijuana legislation,” McKinney said. “I’ve been serving public government since 2002, and Clarksburg has a chronic revenue problem. We run this town on very few dollars. We have to be as progressive as we can with our zoning.”

A dispensary with a colorful mural on the outside

The New England Regional Dispensary on Cross Road in Clarksburg could be the third pot shop in the Northern Berkshires when it opens.

More than half of Clarksburg is owned by the state, a situation that contributes to its lack of revenue.

“Our trees clean the air for the rest of the state,” McKinney said, “but we lose $230,000 in property taxes per year because the state doesn’t pay enough.”

McKinney said the town identified places in need of revitalization to broaden the tax base, including where the dispensary will be. The town changed the zoning to allow for more than just manufacturing, but for “industrial service.”

Clarksburg's first cannabis shop on target to open this summer

According to the host community agreement, the Cellanas’ operation would pay a 3 percent-of-retail-sales impact fee to the town.

“We also expanded what could be used on that site,” McKinney said. “Industry’s not coming back to the Berkshires, and it’s pretty darn clear. If you don’t adjust your sails to the wind to move forward, it’s going to blow you backwards.”

Chad Cellana said he and his uncle have been in the process of trying to open a dispensary for three years, though they’ve been thinking about the idea for almost ten.

They avoided the pitfalls of a “huge multi-million-dollar facility,” Cellana said, instead opting for the space in Clarksburg, which his uncle already owned. But they kept the cultivation license active, “So when we’re ready to grow, literally and figuratively, we can.”

In 2015, Chad Cellana wanted to get into the marijuana business but didn’t have experience. He quit his teaching job and got a gig at the first cannabis company in the state, “and never looked back. I got the experience I needed to jump out on my own.”

McKinney is confident in the prospect of a pot shop in town.

“You go there, the buildings are renovated, they look good, it’s productive, it employs people, and then also the vehicles that they use are paying excise taxes to the community, so it’s been and will continue to be a very successful effort,” he said.

Sten Spinella can be reached at sspinella@berkshireeagle.com or 860-853-0085.

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