A marijuana dispensary called Bountiful Farms is already up and running in Natick. A testing lab called Kaycha is on the cusp of opening its doors. And several retailers are champing at the bit for the town to pick up to two of them to start selling cannabis products.
Now Natick is exploring how it wants to handle outfits that would locate in town and focus on warehousing and distributing cannabis products, including for home delivery. Such organizations could store and deliver, or just courier it like Grubhub does with food, though cannot have a retail presence. It’s unclear whether they would help or hurt any local cannabis product retailers, though could potentially shorten lines at such establishments, which themselves are not allowed to offer delivery.
James Freas, Natick’s director of Community & Economic Development, outlined the subject at the Planning Board meeting on Jan. 20, and is briefing the Select Board on the matter on Jan. 27, according to the memo embedded below.
That briefing also includes a recommendation from the town’s pot shop review team that favors a retail establishment candidate called Cypress Tree located at Cloverleaf Mall. Other candidates proposed locations on Rte. 9 East near the Wellesley line that received backlash from neighbors in Natick and Wellesley during public forums. The review team’s recommendation suggests the Select Board review new candidates for a second choice, but to move things along in order to gain the town new revenue.
In the meantime, the town can begin exploring two new adult-use marijuana establishment license types.
Delivery Courier: This type of licensee is allowed to deliver marijuana products from a licensed marijuana retailer to customers. A delivery courier is not authorized to actually sell marijuana products to consumers—only to deliver from retailers, who make the sales themselves.
Delivery Operator: This type of licensee is authorized to purchase marijuana products at wholesale, to warehouse the products, label them (but not repackage them), sell them and deliver them. It may not operate a storefront retail operation; all sales must be through delivery.
The reality is that these sorts of operations are going to pop up elsewhere nearby and deliver into Natick. If Natick wants to get revenue from such businesses they will need to be located in town. Any such business will need to make it through a gauntlet of approvals from the town (request for information process, working group review, recommendation to the Select Board, negotiation of a host community agreement, Planning Board special permit approval, etc.) and the state. There is currently no limit on how many could be licensed.
Natick does need to update its zoning bylaws to allow them to locate here, and the Planning Board has agreed to sponsor such a warrant article for Town Meeting. “Absent a referendum from the voters banning this use we have to accommodate it in zoning,” he said.