Vt. Senate Candidate Says He's All in For Adams Pot Dispensary
ADAM, Mass. — Only 15 residents attended Tuesday's community outreach meeting for a proposed dispensary on Columbia Street.
Kerry Raheb, the owner of Indica LLC and a former investment banker, presented for the Board of Selectmen in December, when he highlighted his plans to support local artists and donate to various town institutions. The location of the proposed dispensary will be at the former site of Woodstock South at 127 Columbia St.
Several residents asked Raheb about his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in Vermont and his background as a stockbroker. Raheb is running as an independent in Vermont, hoping to take the seat of the retiring Patrick Leahy, who announced last year that he would not be seeking re-election.
Since beginning his Senate campaign, Raheb has retweeted commenters critical of pandemic precautions, including a tweet in which he claimed the vaccine is spreading the virus.
Raheb said his venture in Adams is entirely separate and unrelated to his campaign in Vermont. He disputed what he argued were false claims from multiple publications about himself, his previous dealings (including numerous complaints and judgements) and his Senate campaign.
"I wouldn't be opening up a marijuana business and also running for U.S. Senate in the state of Vermont if I had anything to hide," he said. "I have nothing to hide; everything that they put is false about me."
When asked how he will balance running the business in Adams and running for office, Raheb said the store is his primary focus. He said he does not see himself having any problems getting distracted by doing both things at once.
"As far as running for Senate, the store is my business; you're tying two things in. My focus is the store. My future is the store," he said. "I'm already registered in the state of Maine. I'm going to have three stores in Maine, three in Massachusetts, and I'm going to do another three in Vermont. So this is my business. The Senate just happened. I moved to Vermont and [Patrick] Leahy retired. So I put my name and my hat in the ring, and I plan on winning."
Selectmen Christine Hoyt and Howard Rosenberg were in attendance for the meeting. Hoyt said the questions from residents about Raheb's Senate campaign and background are understandable.
"We're a small community, and we tend to know our neighbors; we tend to know our business owners," she said. "We just like to know who we're dealing business with. And I think that's where a lot of the questions are coming from this evening, is just trying to get to know you."
Residents also questioned Raheb about his lack of experience running a business in the cannabis industry. Raheb said he knows the business well and pointed to his background in finance as a reason he will be able to succeed.
"I know every bit of the product. All the product is from the state of Massachusetts, it's all regulated," he said. "All the product comes in from the state, it's all put into my inventory from the state. Literally, it's like selling socks and pens and pencils. It doesn't matter what the product is."
When asked why he chose Adams to open his business in, Raheb said he felt a strong connection to Adams and the community. He also highlighted its proximity to his residence in Vermont (reportedly in Shelburne, more than three hours away) and cultural similarities between the two areas.
"In the two meetings I've had, I felt embraced, I felt welcome and I really, truly, honestly feel blessed to be here," he said. "So I love this town. I mean, I've been to some others and you know, it just wasn't the same feeling."
Community Development Director Eammon Coughlin told residents in attendance that there are still several steps before Indica LLC has official permit approval to run in Adams. Additionally, Raheb will have to obtain a license from the state Cannabis Control Commission.
"The next step is formal permitting," he said. "So site plan approval through the Planning Board, special permits through the Planning Board, and as well as the host community agreement that needs to be signed by the select board. So those three things would form the basis for permitting the business through the town."
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