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The Country Charm, once a popular restaurant on Route 8, may become a retail marijuana facility.

Vacant Country Charm Property Eyed For Retail Marijuana

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The Girard brothers present initial plans for a retail marijuana establishment at the vacant restaurant building. 

CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Country Charm on Route 8 was once filled with the aroma of broasted chicken. Now it may be filled with a very different odor.

The owners of the long-vacant restaurant have found a new possible use for the property: A retail marijuana facility.

Brothers Nathan, Benjamin and Nicholas Girard presented their plans to open a marijuana establishment to the Selectmen on Tuesday. They purchased the property as Royal Property Group LLC in late 2016 for $285,000.

"We just wanted to introduce ourselves as applicants," Ben said. "We all grew up in Adams, so we are definitely not only looking to just find success ourselves but to help the community and help them receive the benefits that come with this."

Nathan said the location fits within the town's proposed marijuana zoning bylaw and that they propose to give the town the typical 3 percent additional excise tax with an additional $5,000 quarterly.

"We want to be able to assist you guys with any additional expenses that you may find," he said. "It would be a like a general fund for you to use at your own discretion."

Nathan said they are still early in the process and plan to hold a community meeting before negotiating a host community agreement with the town.

"It is basically just to invite neighbors and concerned citizens, anyone, really who just wants to come and figure out what we are proposing at this point," he said.

Selectwoman Carol Francesconi said she was concerned that they were acting prematurely without a town meeting approved bylaw or an inkling of a host community agreement.   

"Doesn't it seem like we are putting the cart before the horse?" she asked. "We don't have a community host agreement and I would like to see one first."

Planning Board Chairwoman Donna DeFino said the Selectmen, Planning Board, and town counsel would have to get together and discuss this agreement and the planners have yet to really approach the subject.

"We have nothing set in place for a community host agreement," she said. "We were concerned about getting the bylaw drafted and ready."

She said they would likely continue all applications until the bylaw is actually passed. The date for applying for state licenses began on Sunday but it is not clear when any licenses will be approved by the Cannabis Control Commission.

DeFino added that she would also want to work out how the money exchanges between the business and the town would be accounted. Because marijuana is still federally illegal, the business is strictly a cash business. (Local sales taxes are normally collected with regular sales tax by the state and returned to the municipality.)

Nathan said they would not be seeking this agreement until after a community meeting that they want to hold in May. He added that they would just need to show the state that they are working with the town toward this agreement for their application process.

He said the finer details of their agreement would be worked out and that the law firm they have teamed up with specializes in marijuana law and would be more than happy to walk the town through the process and provide examples of host community agreements.

DeFino asked if the Girards were in business with Jacob Zieminski, president and founder of Berkshire Boys, who approached the town of Adams in March about possibly locating there.

Nathan said Zieminski did approach them about their location, but they are not working together at all and are in fact in competition.

The Selectmen thanked the Girards for the information.

"The world seems to be changing quickly," Selectman Robert Ciskowski said. "We thank you and will work on whatever comes next."

Tags: marijuana,   

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