CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WHSM) — Non-essential businesses were forced to close due to COVID-19, one of those being recreational marijuana shops.
A local pot shop CEO is now collecting signatures in hopes to sway the state to allow recreational marijuana shops to be allowed open.
“We really just want to be treated fairly like liquor stores,” CEO of Theory Wellness Brandon Pollock said.
As non-essential businesses are closed throughout the state, recreational marijuana shops are fighting to stay open.
“We are trying to educate the governor’s office here in Massachusetts to allow our recreational dispensaries to reopen with some restrictions,” he said.
Pollock is a member of the Board for the Commonwealth Dispensary Association.
They have started a petition to show the state that they are essential with only serving Massachusetts residents.
“We think a compromise with selling to only in-state customers will alleviate the primary concern of the governor’s office coming from out of state to visit the stores,” Pollock said.
The petition is online where signatures are being sent to local leaders including the governor’s office.
“My understanding is that some of the signatures have already been sent out, and I believe we have already received a couple of thousand already,” he said.
Theory Wellness has three dispensaries. Two are for medical marijuana, and their first recreational pot shop opened up in Chicopee not too long ago.
“We have 60 staff there, and they don’t even qualify for unemployment, we were just learning, because they have been working for such a short amount of time,” Pollock said.
Pollock said during this time, people have more stress and anxiety that could be helped with recreational marijuana.
“Allowing us to open our doors to just in-state customers would allow us to put dozens, if not hundreds, of people back to work, not just at our dispensary, but dispensaries across the Commonwealth. It would also allow our customers to access safe cannabis. Majority of people in Mass wanted this legalized. The program has finally been rolled out, now folks who have been used to accessing cannabis either for their therapeutic or strictly recreational needs are now going back to the black market, which is an unsafe place to buy cannabis,” he said.