By Mina Corpuz
AYER -- Central Ave. Compassionate Care, Inc. -- the only medical marijuana dispensary in the Nashoba Valley -- is eyeing another location in town for recreational sales.
The goal is to open a retail shop at 38 Littleton Road. Medical operations would continue on Central Avenue. Executive Director John Hillier and his son, Mark, who serves as CEO, presented the plan during a Wednesday community outreach meeting at Town Hall.
About 20 residents attended the presentation and asked questions about the CACCI's plans. Some raised concerns about a potential influx of people coming to town, impact on property values in the area, and the affect on traffic.
"We still intend to be a responsible business and a good neighbor," John said.
Video cameras, fencing, and on-site staff to check IDs will be implemented at the Littleton Road location.
The way the dispensary operates on Central Avenue can be a guide for what to expect at the new location.
John said there have been no police, fire, or ambulance calls to the dispensary.
He wants to have open dialogue with members of the community and ensure the business is not a nuisance to the area.
The nonprofit dispensary opened in 2013. It was one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. There are currently 22 in Massachusetts.
CACCI currently serves between 3,000 and 4,000 people, Mark said during the presentation.
Adult use marijuana -- for people age 21 or older -- was approved through a 2016 state referendum. As a result, recreational use has been legal since December 2016.
The Cannabis Control Commission, the regulatory body for the industry, will begin to accept business licenses for retail sales in April. Registered marijuana dispensaries like CACCI will get a two weeks head start to apply for licenses, according to state law.
Licensed establishments are set to begin selling in July.
A public outreach meeting and a written host agreement are required by the commission to begin recreational sales.
John said the new operation can benefit the town.
The business would create more jobs. Ayer could set and collect 3 percent sales tax from marijuana product sales.
It will continue its nonprofit mission by giving back to the community through donations or program funding.