Amherst inks third retail pot agreement

  • A marijuana plant AP PHOTO/RICHARD VOGEL

Staff Writer
Published: 1/9/2019 12:44:13 PM

AMHERST — A third company interested in selling recreational marijuana in Amherst has entered into a five-year host community agreement with the town.

Mass Alternative Care, Inc., of Springfield, seeks to open a retail shop at a vacant restaurant site at 55 University Drive and signed the deal with Town Manager Paul Bockelman in late December.

Other companies to sign host community agreements for recreational sales are RISE Holdings, Inc., which since May has operated the lone medical marijuana dispensary from 169 Meadow St., and Herbology Group Inc. Herbology is planning to opens a store at 422 Amity St., the long-time site of Rafters Sports Bar & Restaurant.

Economic Development Director Geoff Kravitz said the terms of the deal with Mass Alternative Care are identical to the previous two agreements. The terms call for a community impact fee to be assessed at 3 percent, calculated as the gross revenue from marijuana and marijuana product sales, and a requirement of no less than $20,000 in donations to local marijuana education and prevention programs, overseen by a nonprofit agreed to by the town manager.

Kravitz said RISE is still likely to be the first to offer adult-use marijuana in Amherst. The company has filed a completed application with the state’s Cannabis Control Commission to get a license and is scheduled to go before the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals later this month to obtain a revised special permit.

Mass Alternative Care earlier signed a host community agreement related to its interest in medical marijuana and received a ZBA special permit in June 2016 for the site, which had been used by the Hangar Pub & Grill until it moved across the street.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at


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