Retail marijuana coming to Adams, North Adams later this year

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NORTH ADAMS — Retail marijuana sales will soon be coming to both North Adams and Adams as two shops continue to move forward with plans for a 2020 opening.

Mission Adams is prepping for a move into a Howland Avenue building, which it will lease from the adjacent Ronnie's Cycles.

And Evergreen Strategies just received a provisional license from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission and is poised to embark on a heavy interior renovation of the building on State Road where Friendly's once sold ice cream cones. The structure has 2,200 square feet of space, with a full basement that can be used for storage, processing and packaging.

The new shops would significantly increase the availability of retail marijuana in Northern Berkshire, where there currently is only one shop — Silver Therapeutics in Williamstown. There are also two shops in Pittsfield and one each in Lee and Great Barrington.

Anthony Parrinello, founder of Evergreen Strategies, said the provisional license was granted on Jan. 9, more than a year after he submitted his CCC application. The provisional license gives him the certainty he needs to move forward with further investment in the project, including architectural plans, interior renovation and exterior upgrades to the building and grounds.

He said he expects to invest up to $350,000 on what he characterized as a "full gut renovation," with interior demolition to begin this week and expected to take six to eight weeks. He anticipates opening in early summer, depending on how long it takes the CCC to conduct inspections of the premises and issue final approvals.

"We're excited to work with the city to get open," he said. "North Adams is an excellent place. It's a great area — it's got the best vibe and we just can't wait to be open."

Initially, he will be supplied by wholesalers in the state, but he eventually hopes to establish his own indoor grow facility in eastern Massachusetts.

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Parrinello has been in the cannabis business for several years, and has opened shops for another company in several locations. He is currently working to open two other shops — one in Belchertown and the other in Worcester. Drawing from his experience, Parrinello said his shop will probably wind up being a driver for other businesses to locate in the shopping center that was once home to the former Price Chopper.

He expects to hire up to 20 full- and part-time employees to run the shop in North Adams, with recruitment efforts likely to begin soon. He hasn't decided what to name the shop yet.

"No name yet, but I do know we're going to be the friendliest place in town," Parrinello said.

Andrew Borges, project manager for Mission Adams, did not return calls seeking more information on his plans.

But in an email to town officials, he noted that he is currently focused on opening two other pot shops, one in Georgetown and another in Worcester. He noted he and his partners should be able to turn his attention to the Adams shop after mid-January.

"CCC tells us that we cannot move forward until Georgetown and Worcester are cleared, but we are very close," Borges wrote in an email to town officials on Dec. 9, 2019.

According to Donna Cesan, community development director in Adams, the site plan for the store has been approved, it has passed several code inspections during interior renovations, and the Host Community Agreement was signed in August 2019. At the earliest, Cesan speculated, the shop could open this spring.

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


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