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Kerry Raheb, owner of Indica LLC, poses one of the branded shirts for his employees at Monday's Planning Board meeting. He expects to open this fall.

Adams Planners Approve Recreational Marijuana Store

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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The dispensary will open in the former Woodstock South on Columbia Street. Business owner Kerry Raheb said the sun mural will be painted over. 
ADAMS, Mass. — The Planning Board approved the town's first recreational cannabis retail operation on Monday.
 
The unanimous vote allows Kerry Raheb of Indica LLC to take the next step in the process to open at 127 Columbia St., site of the former Towne House restaurant. He anticipates opening this fall. 
 
"I had a few towns that were on the shortlist," he told the board. "And once I drove into Adams, it was the only town I wanted to be in and from the beginning, this is where I said I wanted to be."
 
Raheb went through all the steps and processes he'd gone through to get to this day, including creating his limited liability corporation, meeting with the town, holding a community forum, signing a host agreement and filing for his license, all starting back in December 2021. He received his yearlong provisional license on July 14 from the state Cannabis Control Commission. 
 
"They put the cart before the horse and they do that for good reasons, I guess because it makes the strongest come through. And, you know, here we are," he said.
 
Indica LLC is projecting $2.4 million in revenue the first year, of which the town of Adams will get 3 percent, or about $72,000. Raheb said his projections of are fairly conservative and based on industry averages. 
 
Raheb, who previously worked as an investment banker, said before that this will be his first cannabis dispensary. He told the board that he has spent a lot of time researching the industry and met with potential suppliers — cultivators and wholesalers. 
 
"These people are going to help us out," he said. "Good product, good pricing for the town." 
 
He anticipates hiring up to 15 people, with 10 part-time and full-time workers to start. The manager is Renee Houston.
 
In response to questions, Raheb said all products will arrive pre-packaged so there won't be any waste or any smell. Any product that doesn't sell, he anticipates returning to the wholesaler. Deliveries will probably be weekly by delivery vans or small trucks and will take place in the back of the building. 
 
He had to have a background check, which he said he has done before because of his prior investment career, and employees will also have to be vetted. 
 
All security and lighting will be in line with CCC requirements, he said, which will include a locked vestibule for patrons to provide their identification cards. Raheb said he will offer online ordering but does not plan on delivery or curbside service though there may be an employee outside pre-checking IDs if there is a large volume of customers. But he believes the parking lot will be sufficient since customers will generally be making in-and-out transactions, and has an agreement with Lee's Dynasty next door for overflow parking. 
 
He added that the police chief had signed off on his plans and that he went "above and beyond" in terms of security. That part was a major cost factor, he said. 
 
He reminded the board that the state will have to visually inspect the dispensary and sign off before he can open.
 
"When you give us the approval, I submit the form to the CCC, they'll come in for that final inspection, and then once you have the blessing with them I can open in three days," Rehab said. 
 
As to the exterior, Raheb said the sunny mural painted by the most recent occupant, Woodstock South, a novelty store, will remain for the moment but he does want it gone. The board apprised him if he wants to replace it with another mural, it would have to go before the Selectmen, or he could just paint over a solid color. He also plans on installing an accessible ramp to the entrance. 
 
The dispensary will be open every day but Raheb asked for an extra hour on Sunday in light of dispensaries in North Adams and Williamstown being open to 8 on those evenings. The town's bylaws allow marijuana establishments to operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. except Sundays, which are 10 to 6. 
 
 "I just thought the two hours is kind of a disadvantage for us in Adams," he said, adding he was only asking for one extra hour. 
 
 Several board members didn't think it was necessary. "I think that one hour is not going to matter much on a Sunday," said Planner David Krzeminski, with Planner Michael Mach adding, "I really think we should go by our bylaws, particularly on Sunday."
 
Planner Sandra Moderski noted that "if it looks like you've got lines out the door at six o'clock and you see that you might need an adjustment, come back to the board."
 
Raheb said his contractor anticipated two months to get the property ready. Board members said there was a three-week appeal period before anything was finalized, but he could start at his own risk. 
 
Moderski said she would like a tour of the building once completed and other members indicated they would be interested also. Raheb said they were welcome and the Community Development Office will set it up.  
 

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Adams' Valley Street Shed Still Needs Funding

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — Construction of the new shed at Valley Street Field may be delayed due to a lack of funding. 

 

Mike Benson of the Adams/Cheshire Little League attended Monday's Parks Commission meeting and said the league is still working on obtaining funds for the shed. The town appropriated $3,000 for the shed as part of the fiscal 2023 budget and asked the league to match. 

 

"I've done a ton of fundraising this year to try to keep the costs low for the kids," Benson said, noting he could probably contribute about half of the $3,000 needed right now.

 

The league, Benson said, is in the process of ordering a new scoreboard for the field, one similar to the one recently installed at Russell Field. He said financing the scoreboard came first, as it was in the works before planning for the new shed began. 

 

"We had started the scoreboard thing before we heard anything about the shed," he said. "... We haven't asked the town for anything to do to help with the scoreboard. We're doing it all on our own, it's $3,500." 

 

Mark Pizani, an equipment operator at DPW, said they would likely be able to get more time out of the old shed if the league needs more time for funding. Benson said he would happily work with the town to clean the shed. 

 

"We can work it out with what we have. If we need another year out of it, it's really not a big deal," Pizani said. "That's my personal feeling. It would have been nice to have." 

 

Commission Chair James Fassell agreed the current shed can keep being used and said the group will revisit the issue in the future. 

 

"I just want to make sure it's for the good of the league and for the good of Adams," he said. 

 

In other business, Pizani updated the board on a berm near Russell Field, which the group was concerned could overflow onto the field. He said a significant amount of brush and debris was removed from the water since the last meeting, making an overflow less likely. 

 

"We cleaned that whole river out," he said. "We cleaned it out; it's in good shape. We took truckloads of debris and stuff out of the river." 

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