MA: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens In Pittsfield, People Wait In Line To Enter

Photo Credit: Berkshire Roots

People lined up outside the door to enter a new medical marijuana dispensary which opened for the first time on Saturday.

Berkshire Roots is the first medical marijuana dispensary in Pittsfield and the second in Berkshire County. It is one of at least 22 which have made it through the arduous permitting process to be allowed to open across the state, according to the state website for Marijuana Registered Dispensaries.

More than 100 people visited the dispensary, on Dalton Avenue, on its first day. It is now opened from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, said Jane Rohman, spokeswoman for the business.

“We had a line outside the door and we were serving coffee and doughnuts,” she said. “We had one veteran who drove his bike 15 miles to visit us.”

People complimented the owners on the variety of products available, especially for a new business. The company sells 10 flower strains of medical marijuana and a combination of concentrates, edibles, tinctures and topicals, she said.

“There were different people from every walk of life at our opening,” she said.

In the week before its opening day, Berkshire Roots did some trial runs by allowing people to come in by appointment mainly to find and solve any glitches before opening day. Most of the people who were invited to make an appointment were on an electronic mailing list, Rohman said.

Employees will continue to take appointments for people who hold a medical marijuana card and may want more information on available products and the product that is best for them, she said.

The first application for the business, owned by Albert Wojtkowski, was filed with the state in September 2015. Berkshire Roots received its final permit to open in March, according to state records.

The business measures about 26,000 square feet and more than 90 percent of that space is preserved for the cultivation facility. “To ensure its products meet the state’s rigorous purity standards…Berkshire Roots has everything tested by an independent lab,” a written statement said.

The cannabis is grown indoors using natural methods and tested for pesticides and contaminants such as mold and bacteria. They are also tested for potency, quality and cleanliness, the statement said.

The company is following strict procedures to ensure all state regulations are followed. Cameras are set up outside and before being allowed in the door, people must show a medical marijuana prescription card from Massachusetts and a government identification card proving they are at least 21 to the camera. Once inside the lobby area people must fill out sign-in forms before being allowed to enter the locked dispensary, Rohman said.

“We had about 20 people who wanted to buy recreational marijuana but we can’t sell that yet,” she said.

Wojtkowski does plan to apply for a license to sell recreational marijuana along with many other growers, Rohman said.

The state Cannabis Control Commission has set regulations and plans to allow recreational shops to be opened in July.

Currently there are medical marijuana dispensaries in Easthampton, Northampton and Great Barrington in Western Massachusetts. Applications have been submitted for ones in Hampden County in Chicopee and Springfield.