WESTFIELD- After months of delays, Westfield’s presumptive first marijuana dispensary Cannabis Connection was granted a final license April 9 by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) in a remote meeting.
The granting of a final license paves the way for Cannabis Connection to open its doors once restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted. It is unclear when that will happen or if the CCC will allow stores to open up with certain conditions before the end of the pandemic.
As of Thursday when the license was approved, Cannabis Connection co-owner Thomas Keenan said they are operating under the assumption that they may be able to open after May 4, when restrictions on non-essential businesses are slated to be allowed to reopen.
The date is subject to change if the COVID-19 pandemic continues to get worse.
Keenan said that the next step is to work out some sort of accommodation so that the CCC can send representatives to give the Post Final License Inspection which is required before the store can finally open.
Cannabis Connection faced delays in their licensing process for months before reaching this point. In November, they were left off the CCC agenda for the month because background checks for the store ownership had not been completed in time for the meeting. In December, an interjection by prospective dispensary owner Leah Daniels caused the premature end to the meeting before Cannabis Connections provisional license could be considered. Daniels was protesting the CCC’s handling of her application, which had been open for two years at that point.
The provisional license for Cannabis Connection was finally granted in January in a make-up meeting.
“It feels great, it has been such a long time coming,” said Keenan, “It is kind of anticlimactic that we can’t do much even with the final license, but it is still another step forward.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, adult use marijuana stores in Massachusetts are ordered to remain closed, while medical marijuana dispensaries can remain open. Cannabis Connection will be strictly an adult use store, so they would be unable to open in any capacity unless the pandemic subsides or the CCC and Governor Charlie D. Baker ease restrictions with conditions.
Should they be allowed to open while measures to combat the spread of coronavirus are in place, Keenan said they are looking to plan out how to keep social distancing in mind to protect the employees and customers in the store.