Berkshire Roots in Pittsfield gets 'final license' to open retail pot store
Berkshire Roots in Pittsfield is poised to become the third Berkshire County marijuana dispensary to sell pot on a retail basis.
The state Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday granted the company its so-called final license to open a retail store, grow up to 10,000 square feet of marijuana, produce marijuana-infused products and transport marijuana. It already is selling to consumers with medical marijuana cards.
Berkshire Roots still must pass one more state inspection. It has taken other businesses about three to five weeks to get from the final licensure stage to receiving permission to begin legal sales.
Matt Feeney, one of the owners at Berkshire Roots, said he hoped to open up the shop for recreational sales within the next 30 days.
"Obviously, it's dependent upon the filing of the final inspection," he said.
It has been a long time coming, he said, and "we're almost over that final hurdle."
Beyond that, Feeney said he looks forward to opening up to city shoppers.
"We hope we can appeal to the consumer base and be one of the places people choose to go to," he said.
Last month, Theory Wellness in Great Barrington became the first Berkshire County marijuana retailer, followed days later by Temescal Wellness in Pittsfield.
The commission has greenlighted nine retail marijuana stores across the state, and eight have opened their doors to customers. The first stores opened Nov. 20, and through Jan. 27, customers have spent about $28 million on marijuana products in Massachusetts, the commission said.
Chairman Steven Hoffman said Thursday that he does not expect the commission will alter its plans or the pace at which it considers and approves business licenses. Hoffman previously has said that he expects four to eight new retail stores will open their doors each month.
In the past month, the commission has authorized four retailers to begin operations. Three of them have opened for business, and the fourth awaits local permission to open. No retailer has received permission from the commission to open since Jan. 16.
"I'm comfortable and I've defended this many times. I'm comfortable with the pace that we've gone at to this point, I think we've done it right," Hoffman said. "We are absolutely concerned about how this industry looks over the long term, and we feel like we're doing it at the right pace and in the right manner."
With some stores having been open for almost three months, Hoffman said he also is comfortable with the access that retailers have to banking services. Because marijuana remains wholly illegal at the federal level, many banks have balked at doing business with marijuana firms so as to not risk their federal protections.
Two Massachusetts banks — GFA Federal Credit Union based in Gardner and BayCoast Bank based in Swansea — have begun to work with marijuana businesses. A third bank, which Hoffman said has asked not to be identified publicly, also is serving marijuana businesses.
Eagle staff writer Amanda Drane contributed to this report.
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