Dracut Hearing

Lowell Sun – Meg McIntyre

DRACUT — Another marijuana dispensary is looking to open a location in town.

Tuesday night, the Board of Selectmen heard a presentation from New England Craft Cultivators, a marijuana retailer hoping to open a store at 61 Silva Lane.

Founders Ture Turnbull and Wes Ritchie said the facility would be strictly retail to start, but could expand to include cultivation and manufacturing in the future, which would be contingent on further board approvals.

The proposed location is a 4,300-square-foot space on the second floor of the building that houses Equipment East, which would include both retail and office space. Patrons would enter through the building’s main entrance, go up an elevator and be routed through a security checkpoint, according to the presentation. The lot includes 16 dedicated parking spaces.

This is the second Dracut location the company has proposed. It originally planned to open at 1500 Broadway Road, but changed course after residents voted down an attempt to change zoning in the area at Special Town Meeting in November.

“We went back to the drawing board, we worked with the town manager, we worked with the planning director,” Richie said. “We toured 12 different sites. We knew we wanted to be here. And so we hope that our partnership and our willingness to take what you said and go back to the drawing board is considered.”

The company plans to source its products from locally owned manufacturers across the state, Turnbull and Richie said, as well as offer an online ordering system that will allow customers to choose their products online and pick them up in-store. The business is expected to generate 10-20 retail jobs and 4-10 office jobs above $15 an hour, and plans to host a hiring day in Dracut to attract local employees.

Its security plan, which has been approved by the Police Department, exceeds the Cannabis Control Commission’s requirements, according to the presentation, with a dual-alarm system, security camera system, security mesh in the walls and bulletproof glass. New England Craft Cultivators also plans to hire a police detail for its first six weeks in operation.

Selectmen were set to vote on the company’s requests for a license and special permit Tuesday, but voted to continue the conversation to a later meeting after an abutting property owner raised concerns about fencing and preventing trespassers.

Selectman Joseph DiRocco, Jr. made the motion to continue so selectmen can schedule a site visit. The board will also need to approve a change of use to the special permit held by TRE Tolli LLC, which owns the building.

Selectmen Vice Chairman Tony Archinski seemed optimistic about the proposal.

“I can’t think of a better physical location for an enterprise like this as far as the long road going down there, as far as traffic stacking or whatever else,” Archinski said. “I like the idea that you’re looking at hiring Dracut residents for your employees, and I’m sure that you’ll be good community partners. … I’m certainly not going to be one that will stand in your way.”

The store’s proposed operating hours are Monday to Saturday 9 a.m to 10 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with all deliveries to be made at irregular times outside of store hours, Richie and Turnbull said. New England Craft Cultivators is also hoping to set up shop on Main Street in Pepperell, and recently presented its plans to residents there.

This is the third license and special permit Dracut selectmen have considered for a recreational marijuana dispensary since sales became legal in Massachusetts. The board approved a permit and license for GreenStar Herbals, to be located at 76 Pleasant St., in April, and Lazy River Products LLC got the go-ahead in July to open a marijuana dispensary, cultivation and processing facility at 145 Broadway Road.

Tom E. Morey, owner of GreenStar Herbals, said in January that the shop has received its provisional license from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission and hopes to be open sometime this spring. William Cassotis, Lazy River’s president and CEO, said last month that the retailer hoped to begin construction in February and is on track for a summer 2020 opening, depending on state approval.

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