Orange’s first pot shop likely opening in January

  • Silver Therapeutics Inc. plans on opening a marijuana dispensary at 5 South Main St. in Orange early next year. STAFF PHOTO/DAVID McLELLAN

Staff Writer
Published: 11/27/2018 11:29:09 PM

ORANGE — It looks like Orange’s first recreational marijuana shop likely won’t be opening this year, but the company is eyeing January as the month it will open the doors.

Silver Therapeutics Inc. has town approval — a Host Community Agreement and letter of non-opposition — to operate a retail recreational marijuana store at 5 South Main St., as well as a cultivation facility in the Orange Business Park at 158 Governor Dukakis Drive, but has yet to lay out the store or gain final approval from the state to sell marijuana for adult use.

According to Chief Financial Officer Brendan McKee, the process of opening Silver Therapeutics Inc.’s first store in Williamstown has pushed back the expected opening date in Orange.

“Our goal is to get the first store open in Williamstown, and then giving our attention to opening the store in Orange right away,” McKee said. “We will open as early as January, I would hope — no later than February.”

The construction on the Williamstown store is finished, McKee said, and the state’s Cannabis Control Commission will have to approve the store’s standard operating procedure before it grants a license. The same process will have to happen in Orange, but, with town approval secured, things should go smoothly, McKee said.

Gaining a Host Community Agreement — which Silver Therapeutics Inc. received in June — is one step in the long process of becoming licensed by the state to sell recreational marijuana.

“The (Cannabis Control Commission) is being very thorough, and they’re making history in many ways,” McKee said. “We understand that good things take time.”

So far, only two stores are selling recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, despite voters legalizing adult use of the drug in 2016. New England Treatment Access in Northampton and Cultivate in Leicester both began sales on Tuesday, Nov. 20, and, according to the Cannabis Control Commission, saw combined first-day sales of roughly $440,000.

Orange has seen interest from at least seven companies looking to start marijuana operations in town, with six of them gaining town approval via HCAs from the Selectboard. The companies have frequently cited Orange’s central location in New England and proximity to the highway as indications that marijuana businesses in Orange could be lucrative.

Of the approved companies, only two — Silver Therapeutics Inc. and ELEV8 Cannabis LLC — actually plan on selling marijuana directly to consumers. The other companies, Fidelity Wellness Center Inc., PHA Industries Inc., Diem Cannabis and KT Capital Group LLC, are all either growers or processors.

The amount of interest shown in Orange has prompted discussions on whether or not Orange should adopt a bylaw limiting the number of pot shops in town. Voters will decide whether or not to adopt such a bylaw onThursday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall.

The proposed bylaw would limit the number of retail stores to 20 percent of the number of off-site liquor licenses in town — Orange has issued eight such licenses, so only two retail marijuana shops would be allowed if the warrant article passes. The bylaw would not affect the number of marijuana growers or processors, or medical marijuana establishments, the town may approve.

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