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 Parks Commission Considering Options for Renfrew Bleachers
By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Parks Commission is looking for solutions for the bleachers at Renfrew Field, after debate over their arrangement on the field in recent months.
Currently, three sets of bleachers are on the south side of the field, when in previous years, two were on the south side, with two on the north. The bleachers had been arranged that way over the summer, something the board voiced support for in July.
The commission's previous meeting had a larger-than-normal audience to give input on the issue, after the board received a letter from the Adams Cheshire Youth Football League expressing confusion from parents, coaches and others over the change. Commission co-Chair Jacob Schutz said he and others have since looked into portable bleachers, which can move without the need for heavy machinery.
"We looked out there, and the first thing we found is they are very expensive," he said. "Twenty-five thousand dollars on average, and we'd probably need at least two for one side to match something like what we had."
Town staff has explained that constantly moving the heavy bleachers and equipment around the field can cause wear on the field. Equipment operator Mark Pizani said they have installed tires on the current bleachers to move them, which requires a loader to lift the bleachers and pull them to where they need to go on the field.
"If something like this was permanent and didn't have to be taken apart, and you could just do it, we could push them or pull them with something smaller," he said.
Commission Co-Chair James Fassell was not present for the meeting but had previously suggested moving one set of bleachers from the southeast side of the field to the southwest side. He had expressed concerns at the previous meeting about emergency vehicles and accessibility with the current placement.
Pizani explained that this is not a viable option because of banking on the west side of the field, which would prevent the bleachers from being level.
"You would have to actually dig into the ground, and there's underground wires there," he said. "It's really just not feasible."
Selectman Joseph Nowak suggested that the commission reach out to the Adams Agricultural Fair to use their bleachers, which he said are lightweight and made of aluminum. He said it would benefit elderly spectators, so they don't have to walk as far, and would get them through the rest of the season.
Schutz said he does not feel the board has the authority to tell the leagues which side of the field they use as the home side. He said the high school and the leagues that use the field should decide for themselves which side they want to use.
In other business, the group was updated on the new shed at Valley Street Field. Pizani said the shed looks fantastic the students from McCann Technical School who put it together did a good job.
"They sent me a text thanking us for considering them [to build the shed] and letting the kids do it. That's a great thing," he said.
Schutz suggested that the board write a letter thanking the students for building the shed.
For the Hoosac Valley graduate, this month marked the first time he traveled to Europe since he was too young to remember the continent, and on Tuesday, he was "ghosted" for the first time as a professional baseball player.
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The committee voted Tuesday to suggest the Board of Selectmen add the change to a special town meeting warrant. Town Administrator Jay Green said there should be a special town meeting sometime in mid-November.
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