MA: East Springfield Medical Marijuana Dispensary Slated To Open In Early Spring

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
Hampden Care Facility Inc., having received local approval for a medical marijuana dispensary in East Springfield over a year ago, plans to open in early spring, its top executive said this week.

"We are just really excited to be able to open our doors," CEO Mark Zatyrka said. "It's full steam ahead."

The City Council in November 2016 gave Hampden Care Facility the go-ahead to open the city's first medical marijuana dispensary at 506 Cottage St.

The state granted its approval for the company to start cultivating marijuana about seven months ago, Zatyrka said. Indoor cultivation has been occurring at Keystone Mill in Easthampton.

"We wish we could have opened a year ago but we have to grow our product first," Zatyrka said. "That's what we've been up to, making sure we have the best product available."

The company expects to open a dispensary in Easthampton in late January, followed by the opening of the East Springfield dispensary in early spring, he said.

Hampden Care will have extensive security on Cottage Street, including widespread cameras inside and outside the building and the parking lot, Zatyrka said, as required by the city and state. There will also be security personnel on duty at all times, he said.

The company plans to hire approximately 20 full-time and part-time employees, with most being full-time, Zatyrka said. A job fair is planned in late January to assist with the hiring process.

There are two other dispensaries in Western Massachusetts, in Northampton and Great Barrington, operated by other companies.

New England Treatment Access opened a dispensary on Conz Street in Northampton in September 2015, the first in Western Massachusetts. In September of this year, Theory Wellness opened a dispensary in Great Barrington, the first in Berkshire County.

Springfield's retail facility is 7,800 square feet. Zatyrka said it is designed for "high-end retail." There will be products that are smoked as well as edibles and accessories, he said.

To obtain medical marijuana, a patient must have approval from a doctor and be registered with the state, Zatyrka said. Those allowed to purchase must have state-issued patient cards, he said.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno negotiated a host community agreement with Hampden Care Facility in 2016, and it was approved by the City Council.

There was initially an exclusivity agreement that would have given the company the only medical marijuana sales license in Springfield for five years, but the council rejected the clause. Even so, no other applicants have approached the city.

Under the final agreement, Hampden Care will pay the city 1.5 percent of its gross sales revenue in 2018 and 2 percent of its revenues in 2019, and 2.5 percent of its revenue in each successive year, among other provisions.

Medical marijuana facilities were authorized by voters by way of a 2012 ballot question. Voters subsequently approved the sale of recreational marijuana, but the retail establishments have not yet opened pending approval of state guidelines.


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