WESTFIELD- The City of Westfield’s first adult-use marijuana shop, Cannabis Connection, opened June 9 after months of delays.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cannabis Connection was unable to have its grand opening the way the owners envisioned it. Instead, they opted for the curbside pickup model that was adopted by other medical and adult use dispensaries in the state.
The first orders for Cannabis Connection were placed at 10 a.m. Tuesday with pickups starting at noon. As noon passed, just a few vehicles sat in line waiting for the official opening, but Cannabis Connection Director Curt Gezotis said that right at 10 a.m., more than a dozen orders came in. By 12:15 p.m. he said there were between 20 and 30 active orders.
The line never built up, but a steady trickle of customers was observed picking up their orders in the first hour of opening. Each person who orders online is given a 30-minute window for pickup. On arrival, they are directed through the parking lot into different lines depending on payment method. The employees, all wearing masks, have tables set up near the exit of the parking lot with registers and card readers.
After the customer pays, the employee radios their colleagues inside the store, who bring out the order.
CEO Tom Keenan said that they will hopefully only be doing curbside pickup for a short period of time. Phase 2 of Gov. Charlie D. Baker’s reopening plan for the state allows for some retail businesses, including marijuana dispensaries, to begin allowing customers back into their stores wearing a face mask. Keenan hopes to be able to allow customers inside the store in the near future.
“We could do it now, but there are limits on how many people we can have in the store. And then there are logistical concerns in allowing curbside pickup and in-store shopping,” said Keenan, “We are working on plans and we are hoping to allow in-store shopping soon. Maybe by the weekend.”
Keenan said he was just happy to see the store open after they faced months of delays, including an abruptly ended Cannabis Control Commission meeting and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is such an incredibly satisfying feeling to get here. We’ve had to adjust our plans and timeline so many times. It’s been difficult to keep a positive attitude throughout the past couple of years. But we persevered and rolled with the punches and now we have finally made it to the finish line,” said Keenan on Monday as he prepared for Tuesday’s opening, “Of course, it isn’t really a finish line, this is just the beginning of what will be an unparalleled destination for customers to experience the amazing potential of cannabis. Cannabis Connection will be a place where our amazing, diverse team of employees is valued and respected, and will also be a long term source of income for the City of Westfield.”