The first medical marijuana dispensary in Hampden County is slated to open Friday on Cottage Street in East Springfield, culminating more than two years of review, state and city approvals and recently completed renovations.
INSA Inc., formerly Hampden Care Facility Inc., will open for business at 11 a.m. at its dispensary site, 506 Cottage St., said Mark Zatyrka, the company’s chief executive officer. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned beforehand at 10:30.
“We are beyond excited to finally bring a medical cannabis dispensary to Springfield and Hampden County,” Zatyrka said. “For far too long, the patients of this county have been forced to drive great distances to get their medicine. Those days are over.”
Renovations began more than six months ago following local and state approvals.
The dispensary will be open to all Massachusetts medical marijuana-certified patients on Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The regular daily hours, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., will begin on Saturday.
The City Council approved the medical marijuana facility in November 2016 after a host community agreement was renegotiated and finalized between the company and Mayor Domenic J. Sarno.
An earlier agreement with the company was rejected by the council. The renegotiated version eliminated a clause that would have given INSA exclusive operations in Springfield. No other company is under consideration currently.
INSA also has a marijuana dispensary in Easthampton that opened in February. INSA announced in March that it plans to add a recreational cannabis shop in that Hampshire County city.
Zatyrka said the company wanted to get its dispensary up and running in Easthampton and focus its attention there before opening the Springfield dispensary.
A major element of the dispensary is its widespread cameras inside and outside the building and the parking lot and other security measures, Zatyrka said.
INSA employs approximately 70 people in its Easthampton and Springfield facilities, Zatyrka said. More than two-thirds of the INSA Springfield employees are Springfield residents.
“We are not only looking forward to opening our doors to help the patients here in the Greater Springfield area, but we are also looking forward to giving back to our community,” Zatyrka said. “The majority of the company’s leadership and owners are from Springfield or the surrounding towns, so we are all greatly invested in this community.”
INSA Director of Operations Ian Kelly said the business offers “a unique model that focuses on high-quality, safe products with our professional and well-trained team members in an inviting and comfortable space.”
In addition to the dispensaries, INSA also wholesales its products to many other dispensaries throughout Massachusetts, the company said.