Natick residents in 2016 voted in favor of legalizing adult recreational use of marijuana in the state, and now eight businesses are vying to bring cannabis shops to town.
Town Meeting voted in 2018 to approve a handful of zones where such businesses could locate, and in the map below you can see where seven of the eight applicants propose setting up shop. Among the most intriguing: a business that seeks to operate out of the space where Bernie & Phyl’s sells furniture on Rte. 9, right across from the Amazing lingerie store—quite the transition for that section of the road. (We reached out to Bernie & Phyl’s but haven’t heard back.)
A maximum of two applicants will be approved, and based on the town’s review and licensing schedule, it looks like any such business would not open before next spring:
- June/July – Review by the Marijuana Establishments RFI review committee.
- August – Interviews with Respondents; select top tier respondents.
- September – Community Meeting with top tier respondents.
- September/October – Recommendation to Select Board
- Fall, 2020 – Community Host Agreement
- Winter, 2020/2021 – Special Permit Process with Planning Board
- Spring 2021 – Licensing with Select Board
These businesses aren’t waiting until the last minute, though, to get the word out about their intentions. They lay it on thick about the educational and community contributions they will make, though in fairness, the Natick request for information application calls for some of that (“Royalty Group and its Team will be the kind of cannabis organization that is focused on the people who make up the company, especially its employees, and who are a community driven organization that seeks to better the municipalities in which we conduct our businesses in.”).
There are so many references to education on these feel-good outfits’ websites that I almost mistook some of them for schools. Quality, uniqueness, safety, organically, and community, are among their catchwords. Marijuana, pot and weed, not so much. They sometimes spell out, in their menus, the various impacts their products will have on you, from pain relief to relaxation to creativity.
Dale Buckman, a Natick resident who leads the sciency-sounding Phytotherapy Natick, recently reached out to the community online to share information on the outfit’s plans if it gets selected to open in town. Interestingly, the business looks to open at the current Bernie & Phyl’s space on Rte. 9 (combining cannabis and furniture sales might not be the worst idea, but that’s not the plan).
Phytotherapy assures that “We have laid out a vision for success that will benefit the Town, our organization and, most importantly the residents of the Town of Natick.” Its Natick-specific website is focused on its building, traffic and education plans, not its products, which are hinted at on its main website.
The business says it has or will reach out to a number of usual suspects among Natick’s community service organizations, and that it will attempt to give Natick residents preference (to the extent it can under the law) for 30-45 jobs it anticipates filling at its retail shop. It touts plans for educational forums and materials for adults, with some knowledge designed for dispensing to children.
ReLeaf, Justice Grown, C3 & more
Among the others looking to set up shop in Natick is reLeaf Alternative, which manages to check off a bunch of those aforementioned catchwords in its mission statement: “to provide quality education, experience and service to our communities by delivering organically grown cannabis in a safe environment.”
C3 Industries, whose name could represent just about any type of company, distinguishes itself by having cultivation, manufacturing and retail operations. The business is based in Ann Arbor, Mich., but has a presence in Portland, Ore., and has designs on expanding its High Profile brand to Massachusetts.
Another candidate, Justice Grown, was launched in 2014 by civil rights attorneys, and it has Middleborough and Gardner as other Massachusetts targets (it has dispensaries already in Pennsylvania). Among its missions: “We work to undo the damage done by cannabis prohibition through action and charitable giving.”
Other applications to Natick were filed by Strain, Cypress Tree, and Revolutionary Clinics.
Under a separate process, medical marijuana dispensary Bountiful Farms (which has a rare “.care” web address) looks to open at 13 Mercer Rd., in Natick behind The Verve hotel.