Great Barrington Pot Shop, Police Plan For Opening Friday

Jan 9, 2019

Berkshire County’s first adult use recreational marijuana sales start Friday morning, and both the business and the town of Great Barrington are prepping for the big day.

On Monday, Theory Wellness – a medicinal marijuana dispensary in Great Barrington – received its commence operations permission from the Cannabis Control Commission.

“Which allows us to conduct sales to consumers over 21 plus years of age," said Theory Wellness CEO Brandon Pollack. “First and foremost, we’ve been working with the town and the police department for weeks, if not months at this point to make sure we’re as prepared as possible.”

“In anticipation for their opening, we did a site visit, met all the staff and personnel, and went over the way that their operation works, made some suggestions to them that might help deal with any type of issues that may come up,” said Sergeant Paul Storti.

Storti is a 24-year veteran of the Great Barrington police department. He says Chief William Walsh has implemented new policies for dealing with legal weed – and that the department is getting new training from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

“We’re sending several officers to the training to become drug recognition experts, and there’s a whole series of training modules that they have to go through to get certified,” he told WAMC.

Storti says the drug recognition experts will be trained on marijuana impairment – and more.

“We still are going to treat any type of impaired driving with the same basic training that we have now, but to get a more advanced training what we’re going to be doing is sending additional officers to get that additional training so that they’re more advanced and more likely to have success with prosecution side,” said Storti.

The sergeant says the department will treat Theory Wellness like any other business in town – even though what it sells isn’t legal in neighboring New York and Connecticut.

“We have that same type of issue with any type of issue in town, from all the supermarkets to different types of activities that happen here," he said. "We’re going to treat it the same way.”

Storti says the department has worked closely with Theory and has a good plan in place for Friday morning – which takes us back to Brandon Pollack.

“We will have several police officers and cruisers in various areas around the dispensary and the adjacent parking lots to help direct traffic,” said the CEO.

He says all hands will be on deck for the opening: an additional 15 to 20 employees Pollack says they’ve brought on, and workers from Theory’s Bridgewater, Massachusetts locations as well.

“It’s really hard to tell, but based on what we’ve seen at some of the other dispensaries, I’d say it could be anywhere from 500 to 1,000 people may visit us during the day Friday,” estimated Pollack.

On sale will be marijuana in its classic dried flower presentation, as well as pre-rolled joints, edibles, vaporizer pens, and topical products.

Pollack says while the recreational side of Theory has brought in more staff and more fill stations, its medical customers will have their own space.

“We’ve sectioned off a separate area of the dispensary for our medical patients, so our medical patients will not have any inconvenience," he told WAMC. "They have their own parking spots, and will also be able to not wait in line and then have their own area to check out.”

Doors open Friday morning at 10 for the county’s first recreational pot sales.