LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A second marijuana company is considering opening in Lanesborough.
Barry Coleman and Benjamin English told the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday night that they're looking for about a 20,000 square-foot establishment to grow cannabis. In the future, they'd like to expand into a retail operation as well.
"We want to be in the Berkshires. We love it out here. We'd love to do business. But properties are a little hard to come by. Ideally, we'd like to be in Lanesborough or Clarksburg or North Adams, somewhere," English said. "We are looking at Pittsfield and some other towns as well."
English and Coleman's son, Andrew Coleman, would be looking to run the cultivation operation knowns as Chilly Farms. Coleman said his son has been working in the cultivation business in California. He said they've assembled a team of lawyers, security, and consultants to help open here. Now, they are looking at property all over the state in hopes to find a match.
"We are getting embraced by a lot of towns. It is all up to the property," Coleman said.
Locally, the pair said they've met with officials in Clarksburg, Williamstown, and North Adams. In Lanesborough, one of the locations they looked at is the former Vacation Village. They said that building isn't ideal but could be workable. They are looking to start small and expand cultivation and open retail in the future — and retail doesn't necessarily have to be in the same town.
"There is a retail in mind but we'd be more comfortable for it to be in the second year of business," English said.
But before the company closes on a location to start, the pair said they are meeting with officials just to make sure they'd be embraced by the town.
A company needs to craft a host agreement with the town in order to open and Coleman said he already had sit-downs with officials in other towns who weren't too welcoming. He said he'd rather work with a town that is supportive of the business. After speaking with Town Manager Paul Sieloff, Coleman said they got the sense that Lanesborough was welcoming and decided to meet with the board.
"We had the feeling that the town really wanted to do it," Coleman said.
And that message was reiterated by the Board of Selectmen. The Selectmen said they know the marijuana businesses are coming and they'd rather be welcoming to help get some of the tax money flowing to Lanesborough.
Coleman too hopes Lanesborough could be a landing spot but it will depend on if the right property works out.
"We like the town, there is no question about it," Coleman said.
Chilly Farms is the second company to meet with the Board of Selectmen asking for their good graces for such a project. The Selectmen gave the same welcoming response to Developer Rob Wolf who is seeking to build 18 greenhouses at Gray Raven Farm, which will be leased to cultivators. Just over the border in Pittsfield, an array of companies had expressed interest in opening either cultivation or retail locations.
Coleman said the demand will likely be so high when July 1 comes, that there won't be enough to keep up with it. Massachusetts legalized marijuana for recreational use by ballot in 2016 and shops can open as early as this summer.
With such demand, Sieloff voiced concern with the legal costs associated with to the town. He said when an applicant applies, there will be an increased workload for town counsel. The Selectmen agreed and set a $4,000 fee for when an applicant applies to cover the legal services provided.
"You are looking at potentially multi-million investment here," Sieloff said.
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