How is that the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is already issuing out licenses to dispensary owners for multiple locations when some applicants haven’t even heard concerning first-time applications. We are not talking about new submissions. We are talking about applicants that have been waiting for almost 2 years when the process started…
We understand the frustration some applicants are experiencing. Why would the state even entertain a process like this, it would seem like the commission is giving preferential treatment to some.
WORCESTER — Fall River will soon have two recreational marijuana dispensaries open for business, following a Thursday vote by the state Cannabis Control Commission to approve Hope Heal Health for a final license.
Hope Heal Health Approved for Second Site
Dispensary CEO John Rogue told The Herald News Thursday that he hoped the dispensary would be open as early as next month thanks to the CCC’s vote.
“This has been a long time coming. I think everyone is thrilled with this,” he said. “We’ve really had a lot of support.”
Hope Heal Health, which opened earlier this year for medical marijuana sales, was approved in a unanimous vote by state cannabis commissioners, with one commissioner abstaining.
Receiving final license approval from the CCC marks the last major state-mandated hurdle a dispensary must undergo before being approved to sell to the general public, but it does not mean Hope Heal Health is guaranteed to start selling recreational cannabis right away. In the case of Northeast Alternatives, Fall River’s first recreational dispensary, there was a gap of several weeks between license approval and the first day of sales as the facility prepared for its full opening.
Rogue said a “relatively minor” state inspection of the dispensary’s inventory will have to be done before sales can begin.
“We’re anticipating (opening) some time in the middle of January or the first week of February at the latest,” said Rogue.
The CCC’s vote approved Hope Heal Health’s applications for cultivation, product manufacturing and retail licenses.
Hope Heal Health opened for medical sales in February and has been working to convert several of the floors of the former 172,000-square-foot mill building it’s housed in on West Street into a space where cannabis can be grown and processed into other products.
Discussion on Hope Heal Health’s license application among commission members was limited Thursday.
The dispensary’s application was approved in block with the applications of several other dispensaries. Commissioner Shaleen Title abstained from the vote approving the licenses in block “due to host community agreement concerns with each of the applications,” she explained. Title did not elaborate.
More than a dozen cannabis-related businesses have already received local approval in the form of host community agreements and letters of non-opposition issued by on-leave and federally indicted Mayor Jasiel Correia. In addition to Northeast Alternatives and Hope Heal Health, the dispensary Nature’s Medicines has also been approved to sell medical marijuana.
According to the CCC’s most recent records, four businesses – Aura Cannabis, Greener Leaf, The Haven Center and Nature’s Medicines – had at least submitted license applications with the state.
With Northeast Alternatives having been Fall River’s sole recreational dispensary for the better part of a year, local officials and residents living around the dispensary have called for more businesses to be approved for sales in the city to help alleviate traffic congestion.
When homeowners living on Heritage Court and Commonwealth Avenue – the two residential streets behind Northeast Alternatives – petitioned the city’s Traffic Commission for help in reducing congestion around the dispensary, City Councilor Joseph Camara remarked: “The only thing that is going to alleviate traffic down there is someone getting another recreational license in the city. … They’re the only show in town.”
Hope Heal Health’s license approval, and the increase in customers the business will likely receive from selling recreational marijuana, also means a significant new funding source for the city.
The host community agreement Hope Heal Health signed with local officials is nearly identical to the one signed with Northeast Alternatives. That dispensary sold roughly $3 million in recreational marijuana in its first month of business, which equated to $88,000 in local tax revenues for Fall River.
H/T: The Herald News