Proposed Easthampton Marijuana Shop The Verb is Herb May Pitch Online Appointments to Control Crowds

Written by: Jim Kinney – Mass Live

The president of The Verb is Herb will propose offering online appointments to customers if such a measure is needed to win city approval for a retail adult-use marijuana shop in a 74 Cottage St. storefront.

The proposed store’s special permit is back before the Planning Board at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15 in the Municipal Building at 50 Payson Ave.

At a December hearing, the city’s Planning Board sent The Verb is Herb president and CEO William S. Hartley home without the needed special permit. The board requested more information on crowd control, especially on opening day, and said the plan would need Police Chief Robert Alberti’s approval.

The Cannabis Control Commission approved a provisional license for The Verb Is Herb on Dec. 13, said Commission spokeswoman Maryalice Gill. The provisional license is a step in the commission’s normal process toward full licensure.

Hartley’s application says he plans to spend $73,000 on construction at the 938-square-foot storefront, a former financial services office.

Neighboring business owners want to avoid the long lines of customers seen outside the state’s first two recreational marijuana shops, New England Treatment Access in Northampton and Cultivate in Leicester. Both stores began selling marijuana for recreational use in November.

The Cottage Street storefront doesn’t have its own parking lot. There is on-street parking, and a public lot across the street with about two dozen spaces. Hartley said if the crowds were large enough he would set up a shuttle bus system with a satellite parking lot.

Hartley hopes to open in April or May. He said Wednesday he plans to meet soon with Alberti.

In Salem last month Alternative Therapies Group, the state’s third recreational marijuana shop to open, started offering online appointments as a means of crowd control.

The state has since given the green light for more shops to open. Theory Wellness in Great Barrington is approved to open Friday, and Temescal Wellness locations in Hudson and Pittsfield are eligible to open Saturday . INSA, a medical marijuana dispensary and adult use store is already open at 22 Pleasant St. in Easthampton, in one of the city’s mill buildings.

With more marijuana retailers in the mix, Hartley said he believes huge opening-day crowds won’t descend on his shop.

In his application, Hartley said he plans to compete in the increasingly crowded marketplace as a “mom and pop” operation that’s nimble enough to respond to customer demand for various strains of marijuana and related products.

A special permit for River Valley Co-op’s proposed supermarket at the former Fedor’s Pontiac location on Route 10 is on also on the Planning Board’s Jan. 15 agenda.