Cannabis Connection provisional license review expected

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

WESTFIELD- After an unexpected delay from the sudden adjournment of a public meeting on Dec. 19, the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) will review the application for a provisional retail marijuana license for Cannabis Connection Jan. 9 in Worcester. 

The recreational marijuana store, which is expected to be the first in Westfield pending CCC approval, will be included in the Jan. 9 CCC meeting. The Commission will review provisional licenses for prospective marijuana establishments. 

Cannabis Connection owners declined to comment until after the meeting. 

The provisional license for Cannabis Connection was supposed to be reviewed on Dec. 19 along with 30 other similar establishments. About an hour into the meeting, just before the review of provisional licenses was to begin, another prospective store owner loudly interjected due to her frustration that the CCC had not yet reviewed her application after 610 days. 

Leah Daniels, owner of Alchemy League in Boston, filibustered the meeting, as she had recently found out that the CCC had chosen to “scrutinize her economic empowerment application review process even further.”

After calling a brief recess due to Daniels’ outburst, CCC Chair Steve Hoffman and the rest of the Commission returned to adjourn early without any provisional applications being reviewed, including that of Cannabis Connection. 

The next scheduled meeting for the CCC was supposed to be Jan. 16, but a meeting solely to review the 31 provisional licenses was called for Jan. 9 due to the interruption. 

Cannabis Connection co-owner Thomas Keenan said shortly after the incident that he understood how Daniels felt, as she was a priority applicant and should have been seen much earlier. 

He noted, however, that he is disappointed that the incident caused a delay to the start of his own business and that of 30 others. 

“I feel like it could have been handled better,” said Keenan, referring to both the filibuster by Daniels and the reaction of the CCC to end the meeting early.

Should the CCC vote to approve the provisional license for Cannabis Connection, the owners can begin hiring from among the 200 people who attended a job fair in November. The CCC would then have to come for an inspection of the store, after which they could give a list of recommendations and requests for changes to the store. The CCC will return for a final inspection. If the store passes the final inspection, they will be cleared to have a grand opening on a date of their choosing. 

The interrupted meeting in December was the second time in as many months that Cannabis Connection had suffered a delay in its application process. Keenan had expected his store to appear on the CCC agenda for the November meeting, but they were left off of it. Keenan said that the CCC had informed him that their background checks had not been completed in time for the meeting. 

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