Brewster recreational cannabis shop targets '22 opening

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Chris Taloumis, CEO of Brewster's first and only approved retail recreational cannabis shop, can hardly curb his enthusiasm.

“We can’t wait till we get open,” he said.

And why not, since it’s the curbing on Route 6A that’s been holding up the Haven Centerl since it received its final local approval in February 2020.  However, the grand opening may still be almost a year away.

 “We finally received our curb cut,” Taloumis said via email.

“It took almost a year to get approval from Mass DOT (Department of Transportation). We requested the curb cut because we thought we would need more parking. In reality, The shops on the Cape are seeing less than 100 customers per day. That's less than you would see at a convenience store or a package store, for example. Now that these stores are open in reality we have the hard data to show that there are no traffic issues.”

It was due to traffic concerns that the Planning Board required the Center to open initially by appointment only, with seven people permitted in the shop at one time. They would open Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

The shop still needs a final post inspection license from the state. It will need to comply with Cannabis Control Commission regulations, have the facility inspected, comply with local building codes and bylaws and pay the license fee. 

“Only building inspections as the project moves forward,” Taloumis said. “We are moving forward with the buildout.”

Opening date uncertain

When the stores doors will open is still hard to say.

“It's impossible  to predict because much is out of our control,” Taloumis said. “If everything  goes smoothly with local inspections and state approvals We hope to be open by the second or third quarter of 2022.”

The Haven Center first applied to the Cannabis Control Commission and received a provisional license for a medical dispensary in 2015.  When recreational retail marijuana sales were approved In 2016, the Center opted for a recreational license as well and later dropped the medical dispensary concept. The host agreement with Brewster was completed in July 2018 and the last outreach meeting with the community was Nov. 5, 2018. The Haven Center received its provisional recreation retail license June 28, 2019, and then was given the final green light by the Planning Board on Feb. 12, 2020. The expectation was that the Haven Center would be open by Memorial Day.

Other business locations

The Haven Center also has provisional licenses for retail shops in Provincetown, where it is awaiting final approvals from the CCC, and Fall River, as well as a cultivation facility in Bourne.

The Haven Center is now seeking to open a recreational outlet in Bourne but the town recently banned recreational sales via a general bylaw. The Haven Center appealed that to the state Supreme Court in September. It argues that a zoning bylaw (requiring two thirds approval at Town Meeting) is needed rather than a general bylaw.

Brewster ban struck down

The Concerned Citizens of Brewster also attempted to ban retail marijuana shops in Brewster in 2017. Their citizen’s petition for a general bylaw was approved at the 2017 Town Meeting. However it was struck down by Attorney General Maura Healy in April 2018. She ruled a general bylaw couldn’t overrule a zoning bylaw that had been passed a couple of years earlier. The citizens petition had passed with 53 percent of the vote at Town Meeting, well short of the two thirds vote the zoning law received.  

All of this has slowed progress for the Haven Center since its 2015 conception. Initially it had planned to  produce its own medical marijuana in Brewster off Route 137 but shifted the cultivation operation to Bourne. Talmoulis said the current legal dispute with Bourne wouldn’t impact the other retail outlets.

“It is not preventing the other shops from opening. Yes, like most shops, we will purchase from other cultivators and product manufacturers,” he said.

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