Police end patrols at Amherst’s first retail pot shop

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

Staff Writer
Published: 6/8/2019 12:40:42 AM
Modified: 6/8/2019 12:40:30 AM

AMHERST — Every day from morning to evening since Rise Holdings Inc. opened its adult-use marijuana storefront on May 12, Amherst Police have had a presence at or near the 169 Meadow St. site.

There have been patrol vehicles at the shop, often parked on Route 116, and large electronic signs announcing that police are in the vicinity.

But these police details came to an end Thursday, a decision made by Police Chief Scott Livingstone. He said that in the nearly four weeks since opening for retail sales there had been no issues necessitating continued monitoring.

The police patrols were one of the conditions the town set for Rise, in part out of concern for people who might try to get to the location by crossing busy Route 116. Its opening on Mother’s Day, though, meant that the University of Massachusetts had already held its commencement and many people living at the North Amherst apartment complexes had left for the summer.

In Northampton, where New England Treatment Access opened for retail sales in November, police patrols have continued, though there is more pedestrian and vehicular traffic between Pleasant and Conz streets.

Livingstone said he has a meeting scheduled with Rise management in late August to discuss the potential need for police services when the fall semester begins.

Rise covered all the cost of the officers’ overtime pay.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said he understands some residents might be concerned that the police details came at a significant cost to Rise. But Bockelman said he and others have found that marijuana companies usually have the means to pay for these expenses, and want to set the tone for a good relationship with the town.

“It was a smart thing to convey to people that they’re serious about security and abiding by the law,” Bockelman said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

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