Franklin County’s first pot shop opens in Greenfield

  • Greenfield Mayor William Martin ponders his first purchase from employee Derek Conz on the first day of recreational sales at Patriot Care marijuana dispensary in Greenfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Greenfield Mayor William Martin purchases CBD oil from employee Derek Conz on the first day of recreational sales at Patriot Care marijuana dispensary in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZGreenfield Mayor William Martin looks over the “Adult Use” menu with Patriot Care CEO Bob Mayerson before making the first purchase on the first day of recreational sales at Patriot Care marijuana dispensary in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Jerry Manzo of Greenfield shows his identification to employee Derek Conz at Patriot Care in Greenfield, Tuesday. Manzo was the first person in line to purchase marijuana products without a medical card. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Security and police outnumbered customers at one point on the first day of recreational sales at Patriot Care. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 4/2/2019 11:14:05 PM

GREENFIELD — The city can now say it has its own pot shop, months after Northampton opened the first adult-use store in the state to much fanfare. The store is the first in Franklin County and one of 15 in Massachusetts.

Just a handful of people were in line Tuesday morning as Patriot Care prepared to open its doors for recreational use.

“The shine has come off the whole retail novelty, but what’s more important is that there is a legitimate and credentialed entity taking care of medical and recreational marijuana in Greenfield,” Mayor William Martin said.

Martin and other Greenfield officials have said the marijuana business, led by Patriot Care, can help generate more tax revenue for the city. Projects like the new library may be more easily financed with the money made from sales; 3 percent of revenue, the maximum a municipality can tax, will go back to the city.

The Greenfield City Council will soon have a chance to weigh in on where, if at all, the tax money could go beside the general fund. Martin said he hopes this money can be earmarked for the growing retirement fund and for civics education in the schools.

Anyone who is 21 and older can now purchase marijuana and other related products, like oils and baked goods, at the business that’s in the old American Legion building behind Green Fields Market.

“It also fits into our downtown strategy in providing what people need,” Martin said about the business just off Main Street. “We look to the free market to provide what people want.”

Martin was the first person to make a purchase at Patriot Care, following suit with the precedent Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz set. Martin purchased a THC oil for pain.

“As an elder veteran I’m looking for the opportunity to try something a little easier that 1,800 milligrams of ibuprofen daily,” Martin said. He said he plans on donating the empty container to the Greenfield Historical Society, which is what Narkewicz did with his product.

Along with Northampton, Greenfield joins Easthampton, Great Barrington and two shops in Pittsfield as the lone pot shops in western Massachusetts. Hampden County does not have any approved shops yet. Other Franklin County towns such as Orange and Montague are moving toward licenses of their own.

Martin noted nine other applicants are pursuing a license for a marijuana business in Greenfield, and he hopes the other industry can provide a jolt to the city’s economy.

Herbology Group, which has also submitted licenses for retail stores in Amherst and Easthampton, has plans to move into Greenfield near the rotary and Registry of Motor Vehicles on Woodard Road. The business has received its provisional license from the Cannabis Control Commission in January and told the state entity it could open within seven months.

Patriot Care has been running a medical marijuana business in Greenfield for about a year. The state has given preference to groups that already have medical marijuana shops to pioneer the way for regular retail.

“We’ve been working together for almost five years now to first bring medical marijuana to Greenfield,” Patriot Care CEO Bob Mayerson said. “The town has been so supportive.”

In 18 weeks of recreational business, about $64.4 million of adult-use marijuana has been sold. In the most recent week of data, March 18 to 24, about $5.3 million of sales were generated by 127,000 sales, which is about $41 per sale, per person.

“This launch of the adult-use program is an important milestone for this company and this neighborhood,” Mary-Alice Miller, chief legal officer of Columbia Care, the parent company of Patriot Care said. “One of the things we’re really focused on is not just the product but the experience.”

Columbia Care runs businesses in 13 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Miller said it’s important for the company to follow the state guidelines of equity programs. Currently a majority of employees at Patriot Care are women, she said, but did not note whether they are from Greenfield, which is identified as a disproportionate area by the commission.

Patriot Care is expected to develop apprenticeship and educational programs for individuals living in disproportionately impacted areas who are interested in the marijuana industry, according to its state license.

“Being a part of the community and thinking about social justice programs is important to us and we’ll continue to do so,” Miller said. “We will continue to be hiring and certainly will be looking at the local community.”

Heavy security accompanied the first day for Patriot Care. At one point before the 10 a.m. opening there were more security guards than people in line. Parking was being closely monitored as well, with tickets being given out to people who were not paying for the meters. Dyer Investments rented the open lot across Wells Street to Patriot Care, Martin said, which will likely be in place until the arrangement is no longer needed.

Two of the first people on line for the first day of business were people who said they need marijuana for medical purposes, but it’s too expensive to pay for a medical marijuana license, which requires an annual renewal fee.

Rachel Gowey, of Orange, said she took a bus from home this morning to get here for the grand opening. She said her purchase will help her sleep at night because of anxiety issues.

Greenfield resident Jerry Manzo was first in line after arriving at 8 a.m.

“I get opioids, but I rather not,” Greenfield resident Jerry Manzo said. “I’m only around the corner. Now I can just pop over and get my vape oil. That’ll help me sleep at night.”

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264




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