Southwick, Mass. The Select Board held a work session on Monday night before their regular meeting. Several town officials were present at the session including Chairperson of the Planning Board Roz Terry, Board of Health Agent Tom Fitzgerald, and Sgts. Sanders and Landis of the Southwick Police Department.
The work session was on behalf of a proposal from HealthWise Foundation Inc. A non-profit collective from Pittsfield, Mass. represented by James McMahon and Christopher Acosta.
McMahon and Acosta were present to pitch their intended proposal to the Select Board. The proposal is to have a medical marijuana retail store at 185 College Hwy in Southwick.
McMahon started off the session by giving his idea of why the proposal would work with the Town of Southwick. The last business to operate on 185 College Hwy was Berkshire Bank. Knowing that the bank already had the proper safety and security precautions in place, it is an important aspect towards the site plan for HealthWise.
If were not secure, we wont have the ability to be transparent, said McMahon during the work session.
HealthWise Foundation Inc. already has a 153,000 square foot facility in North Brookfield, Mass. where all of the production and processing for the medical marijuana is done.
For this particular location on 185 College Hwy, McMahon mentioned that the process for this proposal started in Aug. 2015. HealthWise has already gone through the first two steps with the state of Massachusetts. They are now in the process of working on the siting profile, which directly focuses on working with the Town of Southwick.
As there has been no challenge by Mass. law regarding medical marijuana, the focus for HealthWise still is to ensure that they want to be an active part of the community of Southwick and not seen in a negative light.
Our main goal is to have zero effect on the town, said McMahon.
As this proposal for the retail store at 185 College Hwy is still in the early stages, further details about the proposed store were discussed. Town officials were curious about some basic information about the plan of the store.
McMahon and Acosta said that the legal minimum age requirement for customers at the retail store would be 21 years old. As far as the cost for the medical marijuana patients, $350 an ounce would be the set price.
Further information will continue to be revealed once the process goes further. HealthWise has a deadline to submit their siting profiles by December 15 to the state.
Although this was a work session in front of the Select Board and several other town officials, a decision on the proposal was not an option. The work session was a more informal way for the two representatives of HealthWise to voice their passion for the plan to the Town of Southwick and answer any questions that people may have had.
The field of medical marijuana is a passion for both McMahon and Acosta as they have seen the way medical marijuana can help a patient in a time of need.
Its a personal connection for us, said McMahon. We feel theres a need for it.