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Recreational pot reaps big benefits in Berkshires

April 19, 2019 09:37 AM

When the first customers began lining up to purchase pot legally in Great Barrington on Jan. 11, there was still a token of uncertainty.

"I think it's very hard to anticipate what kind of numbers to expect in something that doesn't exist previously," said Theory Wellness marketing director Thomas Winstanley.

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Theory Wellness has seen recreational cannabis sales blossom from nothingness to nothing-but-success in its first quarter of operation, raking in $6 million in gross sales revenue.

"As the sixth dispensary in the state, there's not a lot in front of you to say this is how it's going to go and how to do it," Winstanley asserted. "Given where we're at today, we're really happy with how things have turned out so far."

Winstanley says tens of thousands of customers have been lining up seven days a week, paying 20 percent sales tax on their product that translates to more than $185,000 in tax benefits for the town.

But that's not all.

At the Barrington Brewery & Restaurant just down the road, owner Gary Happ opened his parking lot to cannabis customers. That resulted in record business for him over the last few months.

"It's wonderful clientele they attract," Happ states. "There are a lot of cars from Connnecticut, New York, and New Jersey. It's couples and friends. They drive up, they go shopping in Great Barrington, they shop at Theory Wellness, and they know we're here because we're on their website. We let them park here and we pick up a nice bit of business."

Despite early success, there remains concern that competition might temper the revenue stream, especially if and when Connecticut and New York legalize recreational pot.

"I'm happy they were coming. It's aggressive business for the state," Happ says, "It's going to increase tax revenues and we can use that."

Gross cannabis sales statewide in Massachusetts hit $76 million as of the first week in April. If Theory Wellness sales continue at the current rate, it could pump more than $900,000 into the town coffers every year.

Credits

Dan Levy

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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