DRACUT — A new retail marijuana shop is coming to Silva Lane, and with its approval, selectmen have issued three of the four licenses for marijuana establishments allowed under town bylaws.

Ture and Wes THCC
Ture Turnbull, left, and Wes Ritchie, co-founders of New England Craft Cultivators, pose in front of the building that will house their new retail marijuana shop, which received approval from the Board of Selectmen Tuesday. (Courtesy of Wes Ritchie)

Tuesday night, the Board of Selectmen approved a special permit and license for New England Craft Cultivators, a “craft marijuana” dispensary planning to open at 61 Silva Lane. The store will be located on the second floor of the building, which also houses Equipment East, in a 4,300 square-foot area to include both retail and office space.

According to a news release, the company also received approval this week to move through the local permitting process in Pepperell, where it plans to open a location at 112-114 Main Street.

Patrons of the Dracut store will enter through the building’s main entrance, go up an elevator and be routed through a security checkpoint. The retailer will source its products from locally-owned manufacturers across the state, as well as offer an online ordering system allowing customers to choose items online and pick them up in-store, the company’s founders said at a recent Board of Selectmen meeting.

Currently, the store will be retail-only, but there may be an opportunity to add cultivation at some point down the road, contingent on the necessary board approvals, they said.

“Our company will serve a huge segment of the market, we’re looking at customers who want variety in their products and especially seniors and folks who have joint and muscle pain,” said co-founder Ture Turnbull in the news release. “No dispensary to date is planning to curate and sell the kinds of CBD and THC topicals for pain management that we are.”

Selectmen were originally set to consider the company’s applications on Feb. 25, but voted to continue the conversation to a later meeting to allow time for a site visit. According to Selectmen Chairman Jesse Forcier, the board voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve the license and special permit. Selectman Alison Hughes voted against the proposal, Forcier said, along with another to amend the special permit held by the building’s owner, TRE Torri, LLC, which also passed 4-1.

“I was really impressed with the site visit and really impressed with their presentation, that they really did their homework,” Forcier said Wednesday. “When they first came before us to rezone the other property — because this is their second shot at it — they really kind of read the appetite from the board for it to be in the industrial (zone), so they chose a great spot.”

The company had 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. The company’s owners emphasized the convenience of their proposed locations in both Dracut and Pepperell.

“The Dracut store is going to be the closest to Rt. 93 in the region,” Wes Ritchie, the company’s other co-founder, said in the news release. “My family lives in Lawrence and Haverhill and I’ve worked in the region for years. I’m excited about the opportunity to put down more local roots and keep giving back as a new business owner in the region.”

The retailer is the third to receive local approval from the Board of Selectmen for retail marijuana sales. 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. Both companies have received their state licenses and plan to open this year.

The town’s bylaws stipulate that the number of local licenses issued for marijuana establishments can’t exceed 20% of the number of liquor licenses issued for off-premises consumption, which would allow for four marijuana establishments in all, according to Forcier. He said at least two others have already submitted special permit applications to the town.

New England Craft Cultivators is now awaiting its provisional license from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission and plans to open sometime in 2020, according to the release. A Dracut hiring day will be scheduled, the release says, and those interested in applying can begin reaching out to the company via its website at www.necraftcultivators.com.

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