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Orange voters to decide whether to limit pot shops



Staff Writer
Thursday, October 25, 2018

ORANGE — There are now six marijuana companies with town approval to operate in Orange — growers, processors and retailers.

As of Wednesday night’s Selectboard meeting, two of those companies — Silver Therapeutics Inc. and ELEV8 Cannabis LLC — plan to operate stores on South Main Street and sell recreational marijuana directly to consumers.

Meanwhile, town voters will decide in December whether to limit the number of such pot shops here.

The proposed bylaw, submitted as a Special Town Meeting warrant article by the Planning Board, would limit the number of recreational retail marijuana stores to 20 percent of the number of issued liquor store licenses in town.

Orange has issued eight liquor store licenses, meaning only two pot stores would be allowed if the bylaw passes.

No Special Town Meeting has been officially scheduled, but the Selectboard and Town Administrator Gabriele Voelker have consistently expressed the intention to schedule one in December, with Dec. 6 discussed as a possible date. The agenda would have to be set by Nov. 14, in that case.

The bylaw — if passed — would be good news for Silver Therapeutics Inc. and ELEV8 Cannabis LLC, because they are first in line and those companies would bring Orange to its limit if they are ultimately licensed by the state.

Massachusetts voters legalized adult recreational use of marijuana in 2016, but there is still no legal way to purchase marijuana or derivative products in the state. Only two companies — New England Treatment Access in Northampton and Cultivate Holdings in Leicester — have been given retail licenses, but haven’t opened yet.

There’s no guarantee that any of the town-approved companies in Orange will ultimately do business there, but gaining Host Community Agreements is an important step toward state approval.

Other companies that have received town approval to operate marijuana businesses are all either greenhouse growers or manufacturers — processors who would extract chemicals from marijuana. These approved companies are Fidelity Wellness Center Inc., PHA Industries Inc. and Diem Cannabis, all of which plan to operate at the Randall Pond Industrial Park, and KT Capital Group LLC, which seeks to cultivate marijuana at 50 South Main St.

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.