Latest pot shop applicant joins toy stores neighbors


GREAT BARRINGTON — The empty storefront between Tom’s Toys and the law office of Cain, Hibbard and Myers will be home to Calyx Berkshire Dispensary, a retail marijuana shop, which may be open within the next three or four months.

The store was previously occupied by a mens store, Joe Daggert.The owner of the store, Donna Norman, came before the Planning Board at the Nov. 29 meeting for site plan review approval, which only concerns matters such as lighting, security, parking, screening, waste management, parking, and the like.

“Pretty much our only purview there is really lighting and security, and they aren’t really changing any lighting,” Planning Board member Jonathan Hankin said.

It was a quiet meeting, without any angry residents protesting the shop’s location, Board member Pedro Pachano confirmed.

Though the shop sits as some residents have pointed out in the past, between two toy stores (Matrushka Toys sits on the other side of the law firm), anyone underage would be hard-pressed to gain entry.

There will be three ID checks, so kids looking to stand on a friends’ shoulders under a trench coat may need to rethink their strategy.

Previous bylaws, and many in other towns around the state, as well as in other states, often have language saying that an establishment is not allowed within a certain number of feet from where children gather, however that language does not appear within great Barrington’s recreational marijuana bylaw.

“That’s so amorphous, because we have kids hanging out on Main Street,” Hankin said.

Instead, the language prevents establishments going in too close to a preschool or a K-12 school.

In accordance with regulations set forth by the Cannabis Control Commission, the state’s commission governing recreational marijuana, no products will be visible from the outside, nor any flashing signs indicating the sale of marijuana. In fact, the only identifier or clue to passersby that the shop sells marijuana will be the word “dispensary.”

During the presentation to the planning board on Nov. 29, local designer William Caligari showed on a mockup of the finished storefront a frosted glass window, which obscures any of the interior goings-on from anyone looking in. There will also be a curved wall which will obscure view of the shop’s interior when the door opens.

“If we’re going to have a marijuana store, we would like it to go into an empty storefront downtown where it can benefit all the other businesses,” Hankin said.

In Northampton, New England Treatment Access, currently the closest recreational marijuana dispensary to the Berkshires, had lines around the block, many media outlets reported. Sales in the state’s two recreational marijuana shops have thusfar brought in 2.6 million in gross sales the Cannabis Control Commission said Monday.

In the event that Calyx experiences a similar crowd, Norman told the planning board that she would be looking to hire security guards, which she intends to be retired police officers.

Another idea that Norman was looking at was the possibility of a smartphone app which would give a customer an alert when their number has been called, in the event of extreme queues, which seem unlikely as more stores open up throughout the state. However if there are lines, Norman intends to be ready for them.

However, before any of that takes place, Norman will have to appear before the planning board again to present further details on security and lighting. Other than that, the planning board is satisfied with what they’ve seen. Once Norman has the OK from the planning board, she will be able to obtain a license from the Cannabis Control Commission, which can take around 90 days before it is approved.