Amherst police to resume patrols near cannabis retailer 

  • Laura Frontierro, assistant manager of Rise Amherst, makes the Amherst dispensary's first recreational marijuana sale to Amherst Economic Development Director Geoff Kravitz in May 2019.  GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 8/28/2019 2:29:35 PM

AMHERST — As thousands of college students arrive for the fall semester this week, many will be living for the time within walking distance of a marijuana dispensary that sells cannabis products for adult use.

With the possibility that Rise Holdings Inc. at 169 Meadow St., the lone location for retail and medical marijuana sales in Amherst, could see an uptick in business, police will have a regular presence near the intersection of the Route 116 bypass and Meadow Street beginning Saturday. 

Police Chief Scott Livingstone said the decision to reinstate the patrols, which were in place for almost a month after the May 12 opening, is solely about keeping the people safe who venture to the business by car or on foot.

An officer will be assigned to a marked police cruiser at the intersection, though no officers will be at the outlet itself, Livingstone said.

Rise has been open for medical sales since Mother’s Day, but that came two days after the commencement at the University of Massachusetts and as the semesters were winding down at Amherst and Hampshire colleges. Still, police patrols were one of the conditions the town set for the business. Rise covered all the cost of the officers’ overtime pay.

The decision to have police patrols arose out of the traffic situation around Northampton’s New England Treatment Access on Conz Street, where large numbers of vehicles and pedestrians are regularly in the vicinity.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said Amherst officials want to make sure people getting to the location can safely cross the busy state highway from the North Amherst apartment complexes and off-campus rentals. Police should learn soon whether there are problems.

“Whether it will continue will depend on traffic,” Bockelman said. 

Scott Merzbach can be reached at
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