August 20, 2018

Pot businesses line up to open up shop in Worcester

Good Chemistry opened Worcester's first medical marijuana dispensary Aug. 2 on Harrison Street and has applied to sell recreational marijuana out of the same location.

The number of recreational cannabis retail stores in Worcester could eventually surpass its number of Dunkin' Donuts stores.

So far, companies have publicly informed Worcester of their plans to open 20 recreational marijuana stores in the city, according to new data from city officials. Dunkin' Donuts has 10 locations in the city.

In total, various marijuana companies have informed the city of their intentions to submit 26 applications for some kind of recreational marijuana use, including cultivation, manufacturing and retail spaces, according to data on companies who have held or have scheduled neighborhood meetings.

In July, the city sent out a request for interest for adult-use cannabis retail stores. The city will allow up to 15 such shops to open in Worcester, which is set based on the number of liquor stores in the city. There is no cap on the number of other facilities, such as manufacturing or research. The city's deadline for a response to its request is Aug. 24.

The neighborhood meetings are a required piece of the state's adult-use cannabis puzzle and must be held before applications can be reviewed by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. The CCC requires potential licensees to have host community agreements, and Worcester has signed three with Good Chemistry, Prime Wellness Centers and Temescal Wellness.

Colorado-based Good Chemistry, which opened the city's first medical marijuana dispensary on Aug. 2, will seek a retail license for 9 Harrison St.

As of July 26, when the CCC released a list of applicants by city or town, Good Chemistry was one of two having submitted its full retail application to open in Worcester.

Good Chemistry CEO Matthew Huron said the space would not be open for recreational pot until at least the end of the year. For now, however, Huron was focused on getting the company's medical program up and running.

"We'll see how it plays out," Huron said. "It's going to be a long process."

Huron called the slow rollout of the industry in Massachusetts a very deliberate process ensuring the industry thrives once companies can begin sales.

City, country applications

In Worcester, Prime Wellness of Connecticut, will seek medical and retail licenses at its 65 Pullman St. location. Hudson-based Temescal Wellness wants to cultivate and manufacture products at 141 SW Cutoff where it does so for medical products.

One company, Trichome Health Corp. of Boston, has held or plans to hold three informational meetings for three different retail stores in Worcester: 580 Park Ave., 62-68 West Boylston St., and 288 Shrewsbury St.

As of early July, only Headyco LLC, has submitted a full application to the CCC for a cultivation facility in Worcester, at 170 Goddard Memorial Drive.

For the entire county, 29 companies have fully submitted application packets to the state, according to the CCC. Worcester County has been the busiest county for recreational marijuana applications. Berkshire County is the only other county in double digits with 10 applications.

The state's cannabis regulators eyed July 1 as the start date for the state's recreational marijuana sales, but nothing has been sold. That's because a testing facility must be licensed and operational before anything can be sold.

CCC Executive Director Shawn Collins said at the agency's Aug. 9 meeting it is reviewing two applications from testing labs out of the three submitted. At least one of those applications should be approved when the commission meets again on Aug. 23.

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