Dracut’s First Pot Shop Could Open This Year
Apr 15, 2019 05:09AM
● By Lisa Redmond
Tom Morey of Greenstar Herbals.
DRACUT – Vowing to “make sure it works,’’ Greenstar Herbals Inc. principal Tom Morey told the Board of Selectmen this week his plan to provide a “first class’’ pot shop by converting space in a former mill at 76 Pleasant St.
Appearing before the selectmen seeking a special permit to operate a retail marijuana facility – the first in town – Morey said he is “very excited’’ to be working in Dracut’’ and hopes to establish a strong partnership’’ with the town.
Morey, of Boxboro, described himself as hands on. He promised to “make sure it (the facility) works.’’
Greenstar’s attorney Joe Clermont, along with the project’s engineer, architect and chief of security, gave the board with an overview of the proposed plans. Morey plans to lease 9,150-square-feet of the former mill, using 4,750-square-feet for recreational marijuana sales.
The space would be renovated with handicapped access and the current 30 parking spaces would be expanded to 54 spaces to accommodate the other tenants in the former mill.
The hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week, Clermont said. Initially, sales may be by appointment only. Inside, patrons would enter and exit through secure vestibules.
There will be cameras and layers of security, Morey said. “It’s better than Fort Knox.’’
The marijuana would be in sealed bags stored in a secure part of the building. No marijuana would be grown onsite. Instead, the shop’s marijuana would be supplied by Sanctuary Medicinals in Littleton. The marijuana would be transported to Dracut in unmarked vehicles using a staggered schedule.
But one resident raised concerns about the venting of volatile organic chemicals coming up from the ground that have been an issue with that building. Civil engineer William Murray said the landlord has installed carbon filters in the basement and the issue is monitored by the state.
This type of issue is common for an old industrial building he said. The marijuana facility will have fresh air pumped in from a rooftop system.
Morey has already signed a Host Community Agreement with Dracut in which he will seek to employ Dracut residents and vendor. He anticipates hiring up to a dozen full-time and part-time staff.
The standard five-year agreement calls for the marijuana establishment to pay the community not more than 3 percent of the gross sales to mitigate the impact of the establishment on the community. The state Legislature has authorized municipals to adopt a local excise tax of up to 3 percent on
retail transactions, in addition to the 6.25 percent state sales tax and a 10.75 percent excise tax on marijuana and marijuana products.
In addition, Morey has promised a yearly donation to an organization of the board’s choosing. Morey asked that a vote on the special permit be delayed until all five board members are present. Selectman Tami Dristiliaris was absent from the meeting.
When questioned about a construction schedule, Morey said he will start once he gets provisional approval from the state Cannabis Control Commission. He hopes to begin construction this summer with the work taking up to 12 weeks.
His goal is to operational by the end of the year, he said.