WESTFIELD- After months of delays, Cannabis Connection, Westfield’s first adult-use marijuana shop, is set to open June 9 for curbside pickup only.
Cannabis Connection CEO Tom Keenan said Monday that the shop at 40 Industrial Park will begin taking online orders at 10 a.m. Tuesday and the first pickups will happen at noon.
Cannabis Connection’s opening day was originally expected to take place much earlier, but Keenan and Co-Owner Curt Gezotis ran into multiple obstacles in the licensing process, even before the COVID-19 pandemic set everything back.
The original community outreach meeting for Cannabis Connection took place in October, 2018. At that point, it was expected that they would have a grand opening in August or September of 2019.
Due to delays in getting their original application complete, they were unable to get a license hearing until later that fall. However, their Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) background check had not yet been completed, so their license hearing was delayed to December.
That hearing was in the middle of taking place on Dec. 19 when an outburst by a protester caused CCC Chair Steve Hoffman to prematurely end the hearing before Cannabis Connection’s license could be reviewed.
In a make-up hearing on Jan. 9, their provisional license was finally approved, after which it should have been a relatively short amount of time before their final license was approved. It was in this period of time, in late January and throughout February, that COVID-19 took hold in the U.S., causing work stoppages and delays in just about every sector of industry, including the marijuana industry.
As the situation progressed however, businesses and governments adapted, and now Cannabis Connection will be allowed to open under the conditions of a new normal. The CCC granted Cannabis Connection their final license on April 9.
“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, “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.”
Adult use marijuana retailers across the state have adapted in different ways to be able to reopen under the COVID-19 guidelines. Some retailers such as Mass Alternative Care in Chicopee offer an entirely drive-thru service where the customer never exits their vehicle in the parking lot as they pick up their marijuana.
Other stores, such as INSA in Easthampton, have customers park as normal but instead they have basically moved the entire store outside. The employees work in outdoor booths with registers, air conditioning, and security cameras while the customer remains on the other side of the glass, socially distant from other customers.
Keenan said that they have gone with the entirely drive-thru option, and customers will never need to get out of their vehicles.