wareham marijuana

Easthampton and Wareham marijuana retail stores get opening dates after Wareham shop ‘jumped the gun’

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) AP

The fourth and fifth retail marijuana shops in Massachusetts have been authorized to open as soon as Friday by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.

I.N.S.A., Inc. in Easthampton and Verilife in Wareham received their final opening approvals on Monday and may open their doors after the commission’s standard three business-day waiting period.

The approval for the Wareham shop came after some opening date confusion earlier this month led to a back-and-forth between the business’ executive director and the commission.

I.N.S.A, Inc., operates a medical marijuana dispensary at 122 Pleasant Street in Easthampton.

Verilife, which has also been called Pharmacannis and operates a medical marijuana dispensary, plans to open a retail store at 112 Main Street in Wareham. The Plymouth County town, mostly residential, is located between Boston and Providence.

Verilife announced a Dec. 18 opening and then pulled back last week.

Its executive director, Shelley Stormo, told they had an “unexpected delay at the state level.”

Speaking to reporters on Monday, before the issuance of the certificate, Cannabis Control Commission chairman Steve Hoffman disagreed with the word “delay.”

Hoffman has previously attributed gaps between final licenses and opening dates for the time it takes stores to enter their inventory into the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system and receive a physical inventory inspection from the state.

While both the Wareham and Easthampton stories had already received a final license, they only obtained a certificate to commence operations on Monday. The stores can open three days after they receive the certificates.

“I think the company that you’re talking about jumped the gun, frankly, in announcing an opening before we had approved a certificate of operation,” Hoffman said of the Wareham shop earlier in the day. “That’s their choice, but we never committed to that opening date. I think we’re getting very close to issuing a certificate to commence operations. But they announced that prematurely, in my opinion.”

Over the weekend, Alternative Therapies Group in Salem became the third marijuana retail store to open in Massachusetts, and the first in the eastern part of the state. Two other stores, Cultivate in Leicester and New England Treatment Access (NETA), have been open since Nov. 20.

Alternative Therapies Group (ATG) instituted strict limits on the amount of marijuana customers could by, and said they would only take customers by appointment and cash-only. The moves were an effort to combat the long lines and traffic that hit Northampton and Leicester.

On Saturday afternoon, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll observed on Twitter that there were “lots of happy recreational and medical customers, with little to no wait.”

ATG has a medical marijuana dispensary in the same location on Grove Street.

“One thing about the staggered opening that our process is causing to happen is that I think everybody’s going to have an opportunity to learn, observe and iterate based upon previous openings,” Hoffman said Monday. “And so Salem to me was a great example of exactly that, and I thought from everything I’ve seen, it was a very smooth opening.”

Easthampton and Wareham marijuana retail stores get opening dates after Wareham shop ‘jumped the gun’ (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) AP The fourth and fifth retail marijuana shops in