Prospective Essex pot shop lays out plans to residents

PAUL BILODEAU/Staff file photoA pot shop has been proposed for this building at 242 John Wise Ave. in Essex.

ESSEX — BB Botanics is in talks with town officials and anticipates reaching a host community agreement soon, a consultant for the recreational marijuana startup told about 30 residents who attended a community outreach meeting Thursday night. 

The virtual meeting, held via Zoom, was led by Andrew Gold, a Boston-based consultant for marijuana industry start-ups. Gold is advising BB Botanics' through its application process with the state's Cannabis Control Commission, and hosting various community outreach meetings is a step in the process. A previous meeting was held last September. 

The company is looking to become a registered marijuana retailer and Tier 1 cultivator, which restricts the facility's growing canopy at 5,000 square feet.

BB Botanics is looking to move into one of the three units at a business complex on 242 John Wise Ave. Before it can do so, residents will need to vote on a number of proposed regulations for marijuana facilities in Essex — whether to implement a local licensing process for prospective Essex shops, the number of local licenses the town may give out, and how far shops can open from residential, recreational and school areas.

Gold laid out BB Botanics' plan to keep its products out of the hands of minors. That includes complying with state-regulated product packaging requirements, implementing inventory tracking software, participating in monthly physical inventory audits and forbidding loitering, among other guidelines.

BB Botanics also plans on installing a state-of-the-art video surveillance system to meet the state's security requirements for recreational marijuana facilities. 

According to Gold, the company plans to hire from the CCC’s Social Equity Program. Locals, veterans and members of communities that are disproportionately affected by previous marijuana restrictions will also take priority in the hiring process. 

During the question and answer period, Gold said BB Botanics is currently "in negotiations with the municipality and expects to execute a host agreement in the near future."

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.

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