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Pittsfield Pot Shop, Second In County, Opens For Adult Use Sales

Josh Landes

Berkshire County’s second adult use recreational marijuana dispensary opened Tuesday in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

On a slightly less frigid morning than during the opening of Theory Wellness in Great Barrington four days earlier, a new line of customers waited in a heated tent to legally buy adult use weed outside of Temescal Wellness.

“Well it’s my first pot shop. I’m actually kind of psyched to check out what they have from the store and pick up some herbs for the first time legally," said Joe Hunt, 32. He moved to Pittsfield from New Jersey about a year ago. “I think that there’s a lot of crap that you can really pick up on the streets, and I think there’s no regulation – so there should be regulation!”

He said he’s been waiting for a decade for an opportunity like this.

“I’m here for the party, man – just trying to check it out, you know?” he told WAMC.

Also there for the party was Temescal Wellness CEO Ted Rebholz.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic," he told reporters. "I’m ecstatic for the customers, I’m ecstatic for the wonderful team that we have inside behind the counter, and I’m also ecstatic for the community.”

Temescal Wellness has stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maryland. Its dispensary in Pittsfield – off Route 20 west of downtown – is the first to offer recreational marijuana alongside medical marijuana.

“So, we purchased the property here, and we built this on a bare piece of land – so, all in, we’ve invested about a million dollars here into the real estate property tax rolls in Pittsfield," said Rebholz. "More importantly, with our staff. All of our staff get at least 60 hours of training.”

That training ranges from software and security to product knowledge and “cannabis science.”

“We take really seriously that we pay living wages, we subsidize medical, dental, and vision benefits, because we want to make sure – when they come here to visit us at Temescal Wellness – that they get the best experience, and that all starts with having the best people behind the counter,” said the CEO.

Alongside first-time buyers and company CEOs were a few familiar faces.

“Uh, well, it quickly becomes kind of old hat," Jim McCabe told WAMC. "Go in and make a purchase, but it’s still… I don’t know… it’s just… do I have any words? It’s, uh – you can edit, right?”

McCabe, who was at Theory Wellness’s opening in Great Barrington, was among the first to christen Temescal Wellness’s maiden voyage, too.

“Here, apparently they can’t put product out or in glass cases so you can kind of browse through the store – you just walk in, go up to the counter, and deal with everything with a salesperson there," he said. "I guess it doesn’t satisfy the kid in me who just wants to look at all the stuff – but it gets the job done.”

Some of his interest in attending the second opening in the county comes from the legal requirement that each company selling marijuana in Massachusetts must grow its own.

“So each of them are going to have their different kinds," said McCabe. "So I’ll try that out. I grew White Widow myself, so I have way too much of that, so I need some strains for different days.”

He has noticed that contemporary weed is a lot stronger than in his youth. McCabe said just a couple puffs on a half gram pre-rolled joint from Theory Wellness the night before was enough.

“And it definitely did the job – the joints are still just too big for me and one other person," McCabe told WAMC. "We’re not young anymore, we don’t smoke it down to the nub, so…”

His presence at Temescal’s opening raised an obvious question – would he be attending future pot shop openings in the county?

“Maybe, maybe not. I obviously just can’t help myself. This one – I live right on the other side of the pond over here, so I had to come to this one. If I’m doing nothing else, I probably would come, just ‘cause it’s great to see people who are there for the first time – which happened here, and it’s the first time they’re ever going into a shop. So I just love the excitement on people’s faces and in their voices. So you can’t miss it! If you don’t have anything else to do for the day – which is apparently me… And, uh… you know – I’ll be there as long as I can get there, who am I kidding," laughed McCabe.

Temescal Wellness has two other stores in Massachusetts, in Framingham and Hudson.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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