Cannabis Connection license hearing delayed

Cannabis Connection Director Curt Gezotis (left) and CEO Thomas Keenan. (Photo by Peter Currier)

WESTFIELD- Cannabis Connection, which hosted its first job fair Nov. 2 and 3, will likely have to wait until next month for its provisional license hearing.  

CEO Thomas Keenan expected that the CCC would review his application for a provisional license Nov. 7 in a public meeting in Boston. However, an agenda posted Nov. 5 did not include Cannabis Connection. Keenan said that the CCC informed him that the required background checks had not been completed in time for Cannabis Connection to make the list.

He noted that those checks have since been completed and he will likely appear on the agenda for the Dec. 19 CCC meeting.

Should it be approved, it would allow Keenan to begin the hiring process. After the license is approved, Cannabis Connection would then need to pass further inspections from the CCC and to check with city officials to ensure that local ordinances are being followed.

Keenan said he estimates that about 200 people showed up throughout the weekend  to apply for positions. He is hoping to hire 40 to 50 employees once he is finished reviewing the applications.

 Keenan said that they were looking for people to fill the positions of “budtender,” retail floor lead, retail assistant manager, inventory control specialist, security, and retail manager. He noted that, with the traffic they got during the fair, they should be able to hire enough people. 

Keenan cannot hire employees until he receives a provisional license from the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC).

“We are still going through the applications and weeding people out,” said Keenan.  

The building at 40 Industrial Park Road is mostly finished except for a few smaller details on the interior. The retail space already looks like that of other marijuana dispensaries in the area, the only difference being the lack of product on the shelves. 

Keenan said employees of the dispensary are expected to go througha n intensive background check process. He said that not all past crimes will be treated equally in that process. Past drug offenses or non-violent past offenses will not be a deterrent to employment.. Any previous convictions related to domestic violence, firearms, violent crimes,or fraud, however, would likely disqualify applicants. 

Keenan said that they will be purchasing their products from other local dispensaries and marijuana cultivators rather than growing their own. They plan on working with cultivators such as INSA, Garden Remedies, Berkshire Roots, and possibly others. 

“We will be the connection between the consumers and the brands they love,” said Keenan. 

Curt Gezotis, director of Cannabis Connection, said that many of the other local marijuana dispensaries, like NETA in Northampton, are vertically integrated, meaning that they control the entire process from plant growth to sale. 

Keenan will be expected by the CCC to fix whatever it is they suggest during the initial inspection before they return for the final inspection. Should the store pass the final inspection, they will be cleared to open their doors to the public. 

Keenan and Gezotis said that they expect a February grand opening if all goes well, although they acknowledged that it could be sooner or later than that depending on the circumstances. 

The CCC would allow for them to pick the date they actually open their doors, but they do not allow soft openings for family, friends, and investors. Once the doors are open, they are open to everyone 21 or older by CCC rules. 

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