December 3, 2018

Worcester could begin awarding remaining 11 marijuana agreements in December

Photo | Zachary Comeau
Good Chemistry on Harrison Street has been open since Aug. 2 for medical sales.

Worcester could begin awarding host community agreements to up to 11 proposed cannabis retailers this month.

According to Jacob Sanders, who handles intergovernmental affairs in the city manager's office, there are 24 applications for retail cannabis shops in the city, but only 11 licenses to go around.

The city issued a request for interest for recreational marijuana retailers in July with a deadline in August. Those 18 applicants who met the deadline will be considered for the 11 licenses first.

A host community agreement is necessary in order to apply for a state license with the Cannabis Control Commission.

If those businesses don't meet city requirements, six other companies who applied after the deadline would then get their shot, Sanders said. Among those late applicants is Cultivate, which opened one of the first two Massachusetts recreational marijuana stores on Nov. 20 in Leicester.

Sanders said the city is doing its due diligence when considering proposals, including face-to-face interviews after reviewing 100-plus page applications.

To do so, the city set up a committee of city officials ranging from emergency personnel to planning officials, inspectional services, the city's law office and from the city manager's office.

In total, there are 39 locations proposed for some kind of recreational cannabis use. In addition to retail licenses, the other applications include cultivation and manufacturing licenses.

"We have now met with almost every applicant," Sanders said.

Worcester will allow up to 15 shops to open, but the city has already signed four host community agreements for recreational shops with Good Chemistry on Harrison Street, Prime Wellness - which is being rebranded as The Botanist - on Pullman Avenue, Medicinal Alternatives on Millbury Street and Mission Massachusetts on Lincoln Street.

Of those, only Good Chemistry has been granted its full license by the city for recreational sales. That company, open for medical sales since August, is expecting to open in March.

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