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Groton set to interview five potential cannabis retailers in January
Groton set to interview five potential cannabis retailers in January

GROTON — The town of Groton is set to meet with five potential recreational marijuana retailers early in the new year.

On Jan. 5, the Select Board will interview representatives from five different marijuana firms interested in entering into a Host Community Agreement with the town. Those firms are Noble Manna Farms Inc., New England Craft Cultivators, BeWell, United Cultivation, and The Stories Co.

“I am pleased with the result,” said Groton Town Manager Mark Haddad in his Dec. 6 report to the Select Board, noting that each of the five proposals was “well done” and complied with the town’s request for Letters of Interest that they had recently issued. Select Board Clerk Peter Cunningham called the five letters “significant.”

While Groton voted to support the legalization of marijuana back in 2016, the town opted against sales of any kind in the town itself. Cunningham brought the bylaw amendment forward and voters at town meeting in the fall reversed the decision with a 78-29 vote.

“It’s sort of new ground for (Groton),” Cunningham said. “I think it’s gone fairly well, but it’s all new territory to us.”

Marijuana retailers have rapidly taken root across Massachusetts — each of the five interested parties has had experience elsewhere in the state.

Cunningham said Groton has looked to many of those communities, including neighboring Ayer and Pepperell, as sources of feedback and guides as to how they can proceed in what is still a relatively new market.

“It’s taken off in other communities — and even around here — so we’ve had an opportunity to see how that works,” Cunningham said. “It’s also helpful because we then can look at some of those other communities where they’ve operated and get feedback as to how they’ve done there.”

Neither Haddad nor Cunningham delved into the criteria by which the Select Board might judge each firm, but Cunningham said the town would hold each to a “high bar.”

“We have a series of questions we want to ask each of them,” Cunningham said. “We’ll also do some background research in those communities where they’ve operated before.”

Haddad said state law ties recreational marijuana licenses to a town’s total number of alcoholic package store licenses, meaning Groton could issue up to four licenses. However, given the town’s zoning restrictions and the abundance of retailers in the area, both Haddad and Cunningham said two licenses would be far more likely.

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