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November 28, 2018

Worcester marijuana dispensary The Botanist eyes medical sales next month, recreational in early 2019

Photo | Zachary Comeau General Manager Chris Tolford and Chief Marketing Office Harris Damashek.

One of the largest cannabis players in the country will soon open the doors to three medical dispensaries in Worcester County.

Acreage Holdings, based in New York City, plans to open its Pullman Street facility in Worcester sometime in December after recently receiving final approval from the state Department of Public Health. 

The company expects to open a Leominster location by the end of the year, followed by one in Shrewsbury in early 2019. 

The company, which operates in 18 states, is backed by some notable national figures, including former U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. Both men serve on the company’s board of directors. 

The company has special permits for the medical dispensary for the Worcester location. It was previously operating the location under the brand of Prime Wellness, but the Massachusetts locations will soon rebrand as The Botanist. 

General Manager Chris Tolford said the new identity of the Massachusetts franchise will be geared toward education and health.

The dispensary will offer two private consultation rooms for patients to discreetly ask experts about the best products for their specific needs. 

“Education is a big part of what we do here -- for both medical and adult use,” he said during a tour of the dispensary earlier this month. 

The company would be the second medical marijuana dispensary to open in the city. Good Chemistry on Harrison Street was the first to open in August. 

Recreational applications are being finalized to be sent to the state Cannabis Control Commission, and the company hopes to offer adult-use sales in early 2019. 

According to Chief Marketing Officer Harris Damashek, education, community and experience are three pillars of the company’s marijuana operations.

That includes forming relationships with local nonprofits and veterans groups and classes to educate the patient or adult-use consumer about the more than 40 strains grown at the company’s Sterling facility.

On large wooden tables in the store are glass display cases where flower and other products will be displayed, and a booth at the far end of the store will host what the company calls a seed bar - a makeshift cannabis classroom.

With social views on cannabis trending toward legalization and an increasing interest in the benefits of marijuana, an ongoing relationship with the community and customers will be important as the industry grows, Damashek said.

“This will be important as more mainstream consumers come in,” he said.

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