Hopedale retail pot shops: “How much is enough?” Select board chair says town should look at ‘big picture’
An October 2021 IG post from Caroline's Cannabis: "Very grateful to be entering Hopedale!" Photo: instagram.com/carolines_cannabis/
By Theresa Knapp
Marijuana businesses are highly interested in establishing roots in Hopedale.
The town has approved host community agreements (HCAs) for several establishments with more in the pipeline, and this has some local officials thinking about the town’s strategy going forward.
“Overall, I look at this the way I look at a lot of issues in town…I feel like we should not piece-meal, say ‘yes’ to everyone automatically, and we should look at the big picture as to the direction we want to go in as a town,” said Hopedale Select Board Chair Glenda Hazard at the board’s June 27 meeting.
According to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, the state entity that licenses marijuana establishments, a host community agreement “identifies the stipulations and responsibilities of both the municipality and the applicant or licensee.”
The HCA is one of the first steps in a long process that includes CCC approval and extensive local government permitting. The CCC has no authority over local host community agreements.
To date, Hopedale has HCAs for five businesses:
• High Hopes, 1 Menfi Way, retailer
• Caroline’s Cannabis, 4 Charlesview Road, retailer
• Green River Cannabis, TBD, retailer
• Lifted Genetics, 6 Condon Way, cultivator
•MACA, 2 Condon Way, cultivator
There are also six companies seeking HCAs, a few of which are already operating in town but hope to add additional services. These include:
• Blackstone Valley Naturals/Green Mountain C&C, 1 Rosenfeld Drive, cultivator and manufacturing
•Caroline’s Bud Delivery, 4 Charlesview Road, courier
• Caroline’s Cannabis, 4 Charlesview Road, manufacturing
• Lifted Genetics, 5 Condon Way, cultivator
• Cannabonics, 4 Rosenfeld Drive, courier and delivery
• O’Geez Cannabis Gummies, Charlesview Road, manufacturing
Hazard said, “‘How much is enough?’ I think that’s kind of the question being asked.”
Hopedale currently does not have a limit on the number of cannabis retail establishments allowed in town; a limit would need to be approved by voters.
The Select Board agreed to seek a joint meeting with the Planning Board to discuss possible marijuana establishment zoning bylaw additions and/or amendments.
Zoning change gets Green River Cannabis one step closer to cannabis retail sales
Town Administrator Diana Schindler told the Select Board at its June 27 meeting that the Planning Board approved the zoning change requested by the property owner of 150-156 Hartford Street where Green River Cannabis hopes to locate its marijuana retail store. Schindler said the location, which abuts Charlesview Road (a stone’s throw away from Caroline’s Cannabis), was changed from General Business A to Commercial Industrial.
Before Green River Cannabis could establish a retail shop in the plaza, Town Meeting would have to agree, with a two-thirds majority vote, to allow cannabis retail sales in that location by special permit.