Adams retail pot store eyes opening by year's end

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ADAMS — The first proposal for a retail marijuana business in town is winding its way through the state bureaucracy, but operators hope the Howland Avenue store will open by the end of the year.

The host community agreement has been signed by store and town representatives, and the rest of the required approvals now lie with the state's Cannabis Control Commission, according to Cory Ravelson, general manager for Mission MA Inc.

The company is a subsidiary of Mission Dispensaries, which already operates marijuana shops in Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

Several other shops are in the application stages in Maryland and Massachusetts, including the Adams location.

A Mission cultivation and production facility in Worcester is preparing to start growing. The Worcester shop is already open, and another shop is preparing to open in Brookline.

Ravelson said company representatives have been in touch with Adams officials over the last two years. Mission has an agreement with Ronnie's Cycle Sales & Service in Adams to lease a building adjacent to the motorcycle shop at 150 Howland Ave.

The company decided on a location in the Northern Berkshires because "there is a void in customer access there," Ravelson said. Officials liked the Adams location because it is a stand-alone building with plenty of parking, good visibility, and is already properly zoned for such a land use. With about 5,500 square feet of space, there is also plenty of flexibility for designing the floor plan.

"It's a good geographic location and a good plan to set up shop and cater to the customer pool," Ravelson said.

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He noted that the shop would serve both retail customers and patients seeking medical marijuana.

State-required security measures include video surveillance throughout the store and the outside perimeter.

"We take the safety of the customers and the community very seriously," Ravelson said.

Noting that the timing for the remainder of the regulatory process really depends on the CCC, he said that "we hope to be under construction by the end of summer and ready to open in late fall. Certainly by the end of the year, that is our goal."

Ravelson said that if the Worcester production facility isn't ready with product before the Adams store is open, they have agreements with other wholesalers to supply the shop with product. He noted that marijuana production facilities in Massachusetts have not yet caught up with the demand for pot, and that will likely be the case into 2020. That's when Ravelson expects the supply will catch up with demand, at which point prices should decline, as they have in other states a couple years after the retail market was established.

"In 2020 we'll see things open up more," he predicted. "We've seen in other states that the prices drop as soon as production catches up with demand."

Ravelson said the shop will have 10 to 15 employees on site at any given time, with a total of about 25 part-time and full-time employees. The jobs will be made available to Adams residents. He anticipates the hours of operation will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

In the Host Community Agreement, Mission agreed to pay an annual local tax of 3 percent of total sales to Adams. If gross sales are less than $1 million, the annual payment would be $30,000. The company also agreed to have its employees spend 80 man-hours annually on town-sponsored educational programs about drug-abuse prevention and other health topics.

Scott Stafford can be reached at sstafford@berkshireeagle.com or 413-629-4517.


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