July 6, 2018

Worcester seeks pot shop applicants

Photo/Grant Welker
Worcester is seeking applicants looking to open one of what could be up to 15 shops selling marijuana in the city.

Worcester is soliciting applications from prospective recreational marijuana shop operators for what it says would be a uniform approach for reviewing applications.

The city, which issued its request Friday afternoon, is required by law to allow up to 15 marijuana shops.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is approving the first licenses now, with a new law allowing for shops to sell marijuana for legal recreational use for the first time. The law went into effect July 1, but shops can't begin selling until a testing facility is approved by the CCC.

Prospective shop owners have until Aug. 24 to provide an application of intent and other details, the city said.

The city said in statement its Cannabis Review Committee will review applications, with selected applicants invited to negotiate an agreement with the city to allow a shop to operate under regulatory oversight from the city.

In its request, Worcester said it will review applications based on location, capacity to meet city and state license and regulatory requirements, diversity of applicants and community feedback.

Worcester is required to allow up to 15 marijuana shops based on the number of liquor stores that operate in the city. Under state law, each community must allow up to 20 percent of the number of liquor stores. In Worcester's case, there are 74.

Such shops are banned by city zoning from operating within 500 feet of schools, parks or child care centers, among other requirements. Much of Downtown Worcester and commercial stretches like Shrewsbury Street are places where shops would be allowed to operate.

One company, Headyco LLC, has applied to the state's Cannabis Control Commission to cultivate marijuana in the city. Cultivation operations are not limited by number in any community.

In all, 16 companies have applied for licenses in Worcester County, including in Ayer, Bellingham, Franklin, Leicester, Milford, Oxford, Uxbridge and Webster.

Milford is home to Sira Naturals, the first company licensed by the state to cultivate marijuana under the new recreational use law. Cultivate, of Leicester, is the first licensed marijuana retailer.

Read more

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