Joint enterprise: Doors open to Pittsfield's second retail pot shop

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PITTSFIELD — "Are we ready?"

"Who's on register nine?"

"Let's do this."

A mixture of excited questions and hurried double-checks permeated through the Berkshires' newest recreational marijuana retailer Saturday as the clock struck 9 a.m.

But, as the first customers filtered into Berkshire Roots, the mood was jovial and the process orderly.

Months of planning for the sale of adult-use marijuana culminated in a rapid transformation leading to the opening of Berkshire Roots, including a new website, new recreational marijuana menu and new customers at the Dalton Avenue shop.

"We're happy; it's been a steady flow," said Brittany Pufahl, the company's marketing manager.

The scene was in stark contrast to the long lines and traffic police associated with the first wave of recreational marijuana shops opening throughout the state.

Berkshire Roots was prepared for such chaos with doughnuts, coffee, live music and an all-hands-on-deck level of staffing.

"You're bringing help to people who want it, and that's exactly why I want to be here," said Mike Popowich, a budtender who joined Berkshire Roots about six weeks ago.

But whether due to the chilly, gray spring weather or just a growing sense of normalcy around recreational marijuana in the Berkshires, there was no customer queue outside Berkshire Roots within its first hour or so of opening.

Though it's the latest Berkshire County retailer to sell to recreational users, Berkshire Roots is not a newcomer to the marijuana industry. The company opened its Dalton Avenue location to medical marijuana patients last year.

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Berkshire Roots becomes the third adult-use marijuana retailer to come online in the Berkshires, joining Temescal Wellness, located on Callahan Drive on the opposite side of the city, and Theory Wellness in Great Barrington.

For now, the Dalton Avenue shop is the closest for the more than 30,000 residents of towns north of Pittsfield, including North Adams, Adams and Williamstown.

Silver Therapeutics, which plans to open on Main Street in Williamstown, is awaiting a final inspection before it opens its doors in the coming weeks.

The transition to recreational marijuana wasn't without its glitches. The medical marijuana menu was abbreviated Saturday because of issues in loading the company's inventory into the state's system.

"In an effort to remain compliant & abide by guidance given by the State we were required [to] submit our medical inventory in to the state system. This unfortunately puts a hold on our ability [to] make these products available to you," Berkshire Roots texted customers Saturday.

The retailer says it will continue to prioritize its medical patients, opening an hour early Wednesdays and Saturdays exclusively to customers with a medical card.

Medical customers can continue to order online and pick up the product in person, but that service won't immediately be available to recreational customers. The issues with the medical menu are expected to be resolved within days and the full version restored.

The recreational menu is available online, currently in a PDF form. It will soon be converted to an updatable format that will reflect current inventory and when products sell out.

For now, recreational patients are limited to purchasing a quarter-ounce of marijuana, seven pre-roll joints and up to 3 grams of concentrate in one visit. Edibles, tinctures and vape cartridges are limited to one per transaction.

The limits are intended to ensure that enough product remains in supply.

"It's really important that everyone gets the chance to purchase something," said Siobhan Shea, retail supervisor.

Unlike many other retailers, Berkshire Roots grows its own product — a point of pride for the company and its employees.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.


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