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#MUNICIPAL #GUIDANCE: Plymouth

PLYMOUTH – Retail marijuana stores may expand into shopping plazas like The Grove off Exit 5, if Town Meeting approves a zoning amendment to allow them in highway commercial zones.

Precinct 10 Rep. Brendan Brady is petitioning the Town Meeting article, and noted that its passage would not increase the number of allowed marijuana stores; it would simply allow them to be located in one more zone.

As it stands, Plymouth has restricted marijuana retailers to light industrial zones, essentially confining them to the Plymouth Industrial Park and Camelot Park. Brady argues that expanding the allowed locations for these businesses will help disperse them more evenly through Plymouth. As it stands, they are to be concentrated in just the industrial parks. It would also bring more commerce to the economically-plagued Exit 5 brick and mortar retailers, he said, resulting in fewer vacant storefronts and more commercial activity in general. He noted that the town’s RKG report, an economic development master plan update, recommends Plymouth loosen restrictions so that business can expand into larger buildings and offices when needed.

Planning Board alternate Birgitta Kuehn, who is also chairman of the Board of Health, said her board did not support the measure as the industry is still in its infancy and many questions remain as to its impact, unintended and otherwise. Former Board of Health chairman Steve Striar countered that this “wait and see” approach is not reasonable or merited. Striar’s brother Brian Striar is the operator of Four Daughters Compassionate Care retail marijuana store in Plymouth, and, in a controversial move, sold the business to a large conglomerate as soon as the Select Board had inked a host agreement with the company. It was controversial because the board had no knowledge that the business would not be owned by the Striars, and objected to this surprise business maneuver.

So far, Triple M is the only marijuana retail business in Plymouth that has zoning approval, a provisional license from the state as well as an inked host agreement with the Select Board. The company is currently operating its medical marijuana facility at 9 Collins Ave, and has a dispensary in Mashpee.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission lists Four Daughters as having applied for the license. A race to obtain the two remaining licenses has a few businesses jockeying for position. Alfred’s Finest has recently received zoning approval as a marijuana cultivator, processor, wholesaler and retailer, but the state has yet to place the company on its list as having applied for an application, and the Select Board has yet to ink a host agreement with the company. Back in November, board members said they wouldn’t be in favor of signing such an agreement until the company had zoning approval.