55 University Drive: From wings to medical marijuana
Mass Alternative Care became the first of four competing medical marijuana dispensaries to receive their Special Permit from the Amherst Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday night, with some conditions that they will no doubt meet.
Their facility is located at 55 University Drive, the former location of the Hanger Pub & Grill (who moved across the street), and they will share the building with Hospice Care thrift shop.
Mass Alternative Care was second to acquire their Letter of Support from the Amherst Select Board and second to apply for their Special Permit with the ZBA.
169 Meadow St RMD site for GTI
The 3rd company to gain Select Board support, GTI, is proposing a dispensary at 169 Meadow Street in North Amherst, but they were first to appear before the ZBA. Their Special Permit hearing, however, was continued to July 21st.
Their attorney, Tom Reidy, thought the reason Mass Alternative Care got their Special Permit in only a one night hearing is because they already have their Provisional Certificate of Registration with the Department of Public Health, something his clients will have by the their next appearance before the ZBA.
Rich Slobody (maroon shirt) APD Chief Scott Livingstone (back left)
In the audience Thursday night, besides attorney Reidy, two other stakeholders from other pot dispensaries watched the proceedings: Rich Slobody, who is building a 2,000 square foot facility at 85 University Drive for MassMedicum, who was the first non profit to garner Select Board approval.
85 University Drive under construction for MassMedicum
Attorney Tom Reidy (back left) Mass Alternative Care CEO Kevin Collins (front left)
And Jerry Jolly who owns Rafters (the business but not the building) at the corner of University Drive and Amity Street which was the 4th location to receive Select Board approval.
Rafters has been a local landmark for 25 years proposed site for Happy Valley Ventures
Happy Valley Ventures would demolish the current building and perhaps build an additional building on the property but seems to have no plans to keep Rafters on site.
If Mass Alternative Care now goes on to acquire a state license they plan to commence cultivation in November and start selling the medicinal products in Amherst by July, 2017.
The ZBA must make a determination that a facility "meets a demonstrated need" thus the 4th entity to go before them could find the need has been met by the previous three.
Temporary Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner told the Select Board Amherst's medical marijuana market is estimated at $10 million annually, and could generate $250,000 to the town via Host Community Agreements.
A voluminous winning proposal (must have been the aerial cover shot)
Obviously if Massachusetts voters pass the referendum question on November 8th to legalize recreational use of marijuana, the Amherst market e-x-p-a-n-d-s exponentially.