Berkshire Roots Looks to Add Medical Cannabis to Its Adult Use Dispensary on Meridian

East Boston’s first adult use dispensary is looking to add medical marijuana to its menu and expand its hours.

At a Boston Cannabis Board hearing last week, Berkshire Roots CEO James Winokur said the dispensary at 253 Meridian St. has been successfully operating as an adult use facility since 2020 but would like to provide for the area’s growing medical marijuana community.

Winokur said Berkshire Roots is also looking for permission from the Board to expand their hours to be more reflective of some of the other dispensaries in Eastie and neighboring towns. As of now the dispensary’s hours are Monday through Saturday 9am to 7pm and Sunday 11am to 6pm.

Winokur said Berkshire Roots is proposing expanding the hours Monday through Saturday 10am to 9pm and Sunday 10 am to 7pm.

“There are two requests for changes here,” said Winokur at the hearing. “One is to add medical cannabis and the other is to expand our store hours. We’re asking to open one hour later at 10am and extend the evening hours till 9pm. On Sundays we currently open at 11am and close at 6pm. We’d like to open an hour earlier at 10am on Sundays and close at 7pm.”

Winokur said this would give Berkshire Roots a consistent opening time of 10am each day but will still close earlier on Sunday.

“These hours do match pretty well with the adult-use cannabis stores in the area,” said Winokur. “The top four, Happy Valley, Ascend, Pure Oasis and Seed all have adult use and similar store hours that we are proposing. We do find that customers are interested in those evening hours and have expressed that to us.”

The second request, said Winokur, is to add medical cannabis that involves approval from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission.

“So this is a first step for us going through the Cannabis Control Commission process,” said Winokur. “Berkshire Roots also operates out in Pittsfield. We’ve been co-located there  with adult use and medical cannabis for quite a while now so we have good experience doing it. We are highly interested in medical as part of the cannabis community. I personally am on a board that is for physicians in the medical community to advocate for medical cannabis. In fact, we have a letter from Dr. Jordan Kessler, who’s a “cannabis recommender” in Boston and has a physician practice in East Boston. He currently has patients in East Boston as a cannabis recommender and we agree that it’s important to the community to be able to service those who are within walking distance to the store.”

Winokur said there really is no other alternative for medical cannabis patients and adding medical marijuana to Berkshire Roots would improve patient access.

Winokur also presented a letter of non-opposition from Rep. Adrian Madaro on Berkshire Root’s plans.

“He wrote that he does not see a medical license having any additional impact on the surrounding community and that he has not heard significant opposition from the neighborhood regarding this issue,” said Winokur.

One member of the board asked Winokur how medical patients are serviced differently from adult-use customers.

“So under the state regulations through Cannabis Control Commission, medical patients do not pay sales tax and they have products available to them that recreational customers don’t with certain limits on what we can provide recreational customers”, Winokur explained.

It was also announced that Berkshire Roots has tabled its application to partner with a cannabis delivery service that would bring marijuana products right to customers’ front door.

The Boston Cannabis Board approved the first “Delivery Operator License” for cannabis delivery within the city limits. The license was granted to local social equity company, Zip Run, at the BCB’s Dec. 15 Board meeting.

Zip Run was set to partner with Berkshire Roots and would have become the state’s first-ever recreational cannabis “delivery-only” retailer.

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