Retail pot shop to open this fall

  • Retail pot shop to open at 5 South Main St. this fall. Staff File Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 6/26/2019 10:00:32 PM

ORANGE — There will be a new crop sold in town this coming harvest season.

Adults aged 21 and up will be able to purchase marijuana for recreational use in Orange this year, according to Silver Therapeutics Inc. the marijuana company that owns 5 South Main St.

Silver Therapeutics has permission from the town and state to sell recreational — or “adult-use” — marijuana, and the 5 South Main St. store is currently under construction. According to Silver Therapeutics Chief Financial Officer Brendan McKee, construction will finish in August for a fall opening.

“We are part of the community and we want to serve the community,” McKeen said.

Silver Therapeutics already operates a recreational marijuana shop in Williamstown, where it sells several strains of marijuana in the traditional “flower” form, as well as oils, concentrates and edible products containing THC and CBD, the active compounds found in cannabis.

In Orange, the operation will be similar, McKee said, and the company’s experience in Williamstown has encouraged it to expand.

“It is awesome,” McKee said. “The people are happy, the workers, the team is happy. We have been incredibly well received.”

Although not yet licensed by the state to sell marijuana for medical purposes, Silver Therapeutics is a company that promotes marijuana usage for “wellness” — and company managers have said there is no real chemical distinction between medical and recreational marijuana products in the past.

In Williamstown, McKee said many of the customers have been elderly, and they use marijuana for both enjoyment and health purposes.

“We want to serve people,” McKee said. “Especially with older folks, this is their medicine and it helps them. We want to be able to provide that service.”

The Orange store will open as a store designated for selling adult-use products only, but the goal is to be able to say it is a “hybrid store” selling products for both recreational and medical purposes.

In order to gain the additional license to promote itself as a medical facility, Silver Therapeutics has to start growing its own marijuana — which can be a lengthy process in terms of getting approval from the state to grow. However, Silver Therapeutics also has property at 158 Governor Dukakis Drive where it plans to operate a cultivation plant to supply its stores.

But, at least at first, the store’s products will legally be for recreational purposes, McKee said. Once construction finishes, the state’s Cannabis Control Commission does an inspection at the store to make sure “everything is proper, which it will be,” McKee said, and then the store can gain its final licensure — it already has its provisional license, and with a store already in operation in Williamstown, there is no reason to doubt the location in Orange will open this fall, McKee said.

Company founder and CEO Joshua Silver, at a public outreach session in Orange last year, said the vision for the Orange store is to be like “a jewelry store,” with the intention to have “eight or nine strains of marijuana, limit the number of products we’re selling and just do the ones we sell very good.”

Silver also said the company would refrain from using marijuana imagery on its storefront and have strict security to prevent children from purchasing marijuana. He also said the company would be willing to work with the local police department to see how the company could support drug awareness programs for youth.

“We want to be good neighbors,” Silver said, adding that no smoking area or “cafe” will be allowed on-site, and that the store will have an aesthetic that preserves the historical look of downtown Orange.

Silver Therapeutics is one of several companies that has received approval from Orange to operate a marijuana business in town, and the Selectboard last year issued eight approvals to marijuana businesses via letters of nonopposition and Host Community Agreements, which are part of the lengthy process of becoming licensed by the state. Of these businesses, only two — Silver Therapeutics and ELEV8 Cannabis LLC — intend to sell marijuana directly to consumers, with the others being either growers or marijuana product manufacturers.

The companies all cited Orange as a great location to open a marijuana business, because it is in a central New England location, close to other states and near the highway.

The large amount of interest the town received from marijuana companies led to a bylaw being passed in December that limited the number of recreational marijuana stores allowed in town. The bylaw limits the number of recreational marijuana stores allowed in town to 20 percent of the number of off-site liquor licenses the town may issue.

Orange has issued eight such liquor licenses, so — with a rounding-up clause included in the bylaw — only two recreational marijuana stores are now allowed. The bylaw does not affect cultivators, manufacturers or medical marijuana establishments.


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