Easthampton’s second adult-use pot shop to open Monday

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  • Canna Provisions Chief Operating Officer Erik Williams, left, and Logistics Director Brian Lizotte clean a plexiglass barrier for the Monday opening of the Easthampton dispensary on Cottage Street on Thursday, May 21, 2020. For now, customers will be able to preorder, then pick up product in the foyer, which is separated from the rest of the store. Only employees will be allowed into the store during "phase one" of the Massachusetts reopening guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Green rectangles on the floor of the new marijuana dispensary on Cottage Street in Easthampton operated by Canna Provisions, indicate where customers can stand to maintain social distancing once they are allowed inside in phase two of the state's plan for reopening business in the COVID-19 pandemic. The store interior is decorated in a mid-century modern atomic theme or, as Canna Provisions Chief Operating Officer Erik Williams, center, coins it, "Don Draper meets George Jetson." STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Canna Provisions Chief Operating Officer Erik Williams prepares for the Monday opening of the new cannabis dispensary on Cottage Street in Easthampton, on Thursday, May 21, 2020, though customers will not be allowed inside until phase two of the state's COVID-19 reopening plan.  STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Some product available at the new cannabis dispensary on Cottage Street in Easthampton operated by Canna Provisions, includes chocolate cherry cheesecake made by INSA, another dispensary in town. Photographed on Thursday, May 21, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Each season, Canna Provisions produces about 500 sew-on patches, like the one at right, for its different cannabis dispensary locations, including Lee and now Easthampton. Chief Operating Officer Erik Williams says they go fast. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Some products available at the new cannabis dispensary on Cottage Street in Easthampton operated by Canna Provisions, photographed on Thursday, May 21, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Canna Provisions Chief Operating Officer Erik Williams has plans to convert this working 1970s console stereo into a display case at the new cannabis dispensary on Cottage Street in Easthampton. Photographed on Thursday, May 21, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 5/22/2020 12:03:51 PM
Modified: 5/22/2020 12:03:36 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Marijuana users in the area can shop at a new, adult-use cannabis store starting Monday as the state lifts a two-month halt on recreational sales of the product, though mandated protocols such as curbside pickup will make transactions different than before the coronavirus forced the closure of businesses deemed non-essential by the state.

Canna Provisions plans to open its Easthampton dispensary at 74 Cottage St. on Monday, according to company spokesperson Sean Curley. It will join INSA, which began selling adult-use marijuana at its Pleasant Street store in December 2018. Canna Provisions also plans to reopen its dispensary in Lee on Monday. 

“We know that there’s a lot of people out there that for whatever reason didn’t or couldn’t get on the medical card list,” Curley said. “But there are still patients who use cannabis for well-being, so we’re super excited to be able to get back to them.”

Canna Provisions also received a final retail license from state cannabis regulators in April for its upcoming adult-use store at 380R Dwight St. in Holyoke that Curley said the company hopes to open in early June pending a final inspection. Boston Bud Factory at 73 Sargeant St. in Holyoke also needs a final inspection before opening its adult-use store since it also received its final retail license, according to co-owner Frank Dailey.

Customers won’t be able to see the inside of Canna Provisions’ new dispensary just yet due to mandatory curbside pickup rules implemented as the state slowly reopens some businesses that were closed in the past few weeks starting Monday. Memorial Day marks the beginning of Phase 1 of Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plan when other businesses such as pet grooming services, hair salons and car washes are allowed to reopen.

Medical marijuana businesses stayed open during the shutdown but recreational sales were closed; NETA in Northampton, for example, shut down its recreational store but kept its medical marijuana services open.

Canna Provisions’ Easthampton store was given the green light to sell by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) in late March; however, at that time, the closure of adult-use marijuana stores had already been implemented. 

The Easthampton space is technically licensed to The Verb is Herb, but Curley said Canna Provisions is in the process of officially getting approval for a change in ownership, adding the company has a management agreement with its previous owner and are currently the store’s operators and managers. Canna Provisions can’t use their own brand’s name until this transaction officially goes through, Curley said.

“From a marketing perspective, it adds one additional layer that’s not so easy to deal with,” Curley said.

Since Canna Provisions’ curbside is a sidewalk, Curley said, there has been approval for the store to have people step into a vestibule, a small area before the store’s 500-600 square-foot sales floor, for purchases and ID checks. To start, the store will only accept pre-orders that are placed online or by phone. Those looking to buy cannabis will choose a half-hour time window to pick up their marijuana; Curley said the store will be able to process a maximum of 24 purchases per hour.

“We want to avoid 100 people showing up at once,” he said.

Curley said the store has been working on signage encouraging social distancing and will have a person outside of each store to help manage foot traffic, among other initiatives. Extra employees have been scheduled to man phone lines where they will answer questions and assist with pre-orders; a chat function on the website of Canna Provisions will be staffed for similar consulting. Live streams will be hosted by “guides” via social media, and Zoom and customers can set up a one-on-one Zoom chat with a guide if need be, Curley said.

Product selection will be wider than before, Curley said, as the pause on the marijuana industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic gave Canna Provisions the ability to strike partnerships with new marijuana cultivators and product manufacturers that have been approved in the state.

“I think we’re coming back with an even stronger, more appealing menu with a more broad selection of products,” he said.

Holyoke 

Canna Provisions is planning on getting product inside its Holyoke store by May 22 — a prerequisite before the CCC can do its final inspection, Curley said. He said the company expects it to take seven days for the inspection to be scheduled once the company calls for one.

The Holyoke store is much larger than its Easthampton or Lee stores, Curley said, and the company has plans for curbside pickup or in-store sales for when the shop opens. 

Boston Bud Factory is another adult-use cannabis store in Holyoke, located on Sargeant Street, that received its final license and is seeking to get its final inspection as soon as possible. Co-owner Frank Dailey said he’s currently drafting curbside pickup procedures that need to be approved by the state, as well as getting product delivered to his store from the suppliers he has lined up.

Dailey said he hopes the store will open “in a matter of weeks.” He was expecting to allow customers inside the store and was drafting social distancing plans for that scenario until he learned curbside pickup was the rule.

“Curbside delivery at least gets us started, and we can do that with less staffing,” Dailey said. “It allows us to build into it, as well.”

As for the state’s handling of the adult-use marijuana industry during the pandemic, Dailey said he believed recreational marijuana should have been considered an essential business so companies could sell during the shutdown.

“The majority of recreational users use it for a medicinal purpose,” Dailey said. “Whether it be anxiety relief, sleep assistance … usually most of the people I know who use it recreationally are using it for medical reasons.”

“I think we could have done this more expeditiously and gone into some of these phases earlier,” Dailey added.

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com. 


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