Temescal Wellness lands county's first provisional license for recreational pot

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PITTSFIELD — Large, empty bins sat behind the counter at Temescal Wellness, waiting to be filled with marijuana products.

During a tour Friday, voices bounced around the shiny, teal walls of the expectant retail floor. The newly constructed 3,000-square-foot facility, at 10 Callahan Drive in Pittsfield, is missing two important ingredients: cannabis and customers.

On Thursday, Temescal became the first marijuana retailer in Berkshire County to earn a provisional license from the state to sell recreational marijuana. It joined about a dozen retailers statewide that have provisional licenses and are waiting for a final nod from the state to begin recreational sales.

More than two months have passed since the original deadline — and nearly two years have passed since voters approved recreational marijuana in Massachusetts — yet recreational cannabis sales have yet to begin in the commonwealth. The Cannabis Control Commission has been cryptic about when final approvals will come.

But the dispensary could get the green light "any day now" to sell to those holding state-approved medical marijuana cards, according to Julia Germaine, the company's chief operating officer.

Once the state Department of Public Health signs and sends the certificate, staff will spend two days trekking back and forth from the company's cultivation and manufacturing hub in Worcester to stock shelves at the Pittsfield shop.

Meantime, Germaine said, "we're carrying full-time staff waiting to open."

Those staffers busied themselves Friday assembling point-of-sale stations along the store's countertop. They said they're excited to get started.

"I'm so happy, you have no idea," said Michael Murphy, an assistant manager from Lanesborough with a background in human services.

Chairs and round, marble tables line an interior consultation area. Temescal, which has open dispensaries in Eastern Massachusetts as well as in other states, includes these spaces in its shops as a place for patients to sit, rather than stand and wait in line.

An interior vestibule separates the exterior door from the retail floor, and unlike other dispensaries, customers will be greeted with open desks.

"We're really proud of the fact that we don't have glass here," Germaine said, gesturing to the countertop. "We feel this is much more welcoming and inviting."

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She said staffers will check and scan IDs twice — once outside, and once inside. They also will register each guest upon their first visit to the store, ensuring that everyone sees educational materials surrounding current regulations and signs a statement acknowledging them.

"I think we have a big responsibility to make sure there's a safe rollout," she said.

The store will accept cash, debit cards and CanPay, an app-based payment platform.

Germaine said the company stocks delivery systems of all sorts so that patients and customers never have to go to a head shop. Vaporizers, bowls and dab rigs are already on hand behind the counter.

It even sells the Otto, an automatic joint roller — simply place the bud into the top of an Alexa-shaped device, which grinds it and spits out a joint.

The breadth of offerings sets Temescal apart, Germaine said. It will have its own Massachusetts line of classic flower products, infused products and concentrates. She said the company is eager to roll out its own CBD strain, which is nonpsychoactive, meaning it contains a very low percentage of THC.

"It's in really high demand," Germaine said. "So, we're just trying to finish our first harvest so we can meet that demand."

The store will have infused chocolate bars, lozenges, caramels, honey sticks, granola bites and infused coconut butter. For people who are sick or, for other reasons, would rather not eat a marijuana product, they can drink it with a stir-in powder called Drench.

Temescal also offers capsules and salves, or, for those who would like their cannabis with a dose of breath freshener, there's an infused sublingual spray in peppermint flavor.

Business hours will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Wellness is the company's emphasis, Germaine said, but good-spirited fun also has its place.

"I like to remind people euphoria has medical benefits," she said.

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.


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