Great Barrington – Great Barrington just got a step closer to hosting a medical marijuana dispensary.

A newly formed local development company, 394 Stockbridge Road LLC, is converting a vacant lot on the north end of town into a medical marijuana dispensary. Theory Wellness Inc., a Stoneham, MA, nonprofit, will be the building’s tenant and the dispensary’s operator.

“We hope to be open by next summer,” said Nicholas Anderson, the project’s engineer and the vice president of Lee-based Berkshire Engineering.

Anderson’s remarks came during a presentation to the Planning Board on Thursday for site plan review.

The board approved the project. The review was the only hurdle – save a building permit – the dispensary faces on the local level, Anderson told The Eagle on Friday.

Great Barrington voters approved a bylaw to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in town in 2012. The Theory development can proceed as “by right” in the vacant lot, avoiding special permitting, because the site is zoned for industrial development.

Anderson described the project in detail to the board. The one-story wood framed building will sit in the south of the Laramee’s Cleaners parking lot on an undeveloped stretch of pavement. The dispensary will be placed next to the buffer zone of trees between the parking lot and the narrow stream that divides the Laramee’s lot and Barrington Plaza.

The dispensary will have patients enter by the buffer zone, away from the road. Windows will be frosted for additional privacy.

While the dispensary will provide marijuana to patients in Great Barrington, agricultural production will occur offsite at Theory’s Bridgewater facility.

“We have to cultivate within the state,” said Nicholas Friedman, the nonprofit’s president.

Board member Jack Muskgrove wondered about the dispensary’s customer base.

“How many patients are you expecting to serve?” he asked.

The answer to that was all in the numbers, said Theory CEO Brandon Pollock.

“The state projects two percent of the population will need medical marijuana,” he said.

With a county population of 120,000, that’s an estimated 2,400 of patients to serve for the five proposed dispensaries for the region. Sharing the serviceable population out equally, with an average of 2.5 visits a month, works out to roughly 1,200 visits every 30 days according to Pollock’s information.

The developers are awaiting state approval for the dispensary before finalizing their purchase of the lot. Once that approval comes through, construction will begin.

Once the building is finished, it needs final approval from the state. That requires being fully staffed and operational, said Friedman, and then the dispensary can begin providing medical marijuana to patients.

It’s all part of a process, said Anderson.

“We’ll build it, get certified, then open,” he said.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Medical Marijuana Dispensary In Great Barrington Inches Closer To Reality
Author: Eoin Higgins
Photo Credit: Jennifer Martin
Website: The Berkshire Eagle