Leicester holding emergency meeting to address pot shop traffic

Leicester holding emergency meeting to address pot shop traffic

Leicester calls emergency meeting after crowds buying marijuana at Cultivate cause huge traffic delays

Leicesters Board of Selectmen and Planning Board have called an emergency meeting for Monday night to address traffic problems caused by the large amount of customers at the towns new recreational marijuana dispensary.

The states Open Meeting Law says that public meetings must be publicly posted at least 48 hours in advance, except in the cases of emergency. Leicester called the meeting Monday morning.

“These concerns became relevant only after it was determined the initial rush of customers to the business would be greater and longer in duration than initially forecast,” the meeting notice states. “This meeting is called to discuss options to address said concerns on a timely basis.

The Planning Board and Board of Selectmen will discuss traffic, parking and public safety concerns that have arisen as a result of Cultivate opening on Route 9. Thousands of customers have flocked to the pot shop since it opened last week.

Cultivate is one of the first two recreational marijuana dispensaries to open in the state. It opened on Tuesday of last week. Many people waited as long as eight hours to get into the facility. New England Treatment Access in Northampton also began offering recreational pot sales last week.

The Leicester pot shop became one of the first two recreational marijuana shops on the East Coast when it opened its doors Tuesday morning, and hundreds of customers have eagerly waited outside in rain, snow, and freezing temperatures to buy products.

Cultivate served about 1,000 customers on its first day of recreational sales, and hundreds more waited in line on Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Over the weekend — overlapping with Small Business Saturday — long lines once again greeted customers driving up to the store, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Now, as Cultivate enters its first full week in business, local officials are concerned the “rush of customers” to the store will be larger “than initially forecast.”

More marijuana retailers are in the licensing pipeline, but don’t expect shops in Boston any time soon.

The notice of the public hearing, posted on the town’s website, was called to “address potential traffic, parking, and public safety concerns.”

“These concerns became relevant only after it was determined the initial rush of customers to the business would be greater and longer in duration than initially forecast,” the notice states.

A spokeswoman for Cultivate said the shop is “seeing an extended period of high volume sales.”

“While that is really exciting, the most important thing to us, is that we are being good neighbors in the community,” Cultivate spokeswoman Francy Wade said in a statement. “We will be working with the town to improve parking and continue to make this rollout as smooth as possible.”

Monday’s gathering is considered an “emergency meeting” because it was announced with less than 48 hours notice, per the state’s Open Meeting Law. In cases of emergency, the law states, “emergency meetings must be posted as soon as reasonably possible prior to the meeting.”

The Select Board and Planning Board meeting, requested by Leicester Town Administrator David Genereux, will begin at 7 p.m. in a conference room at Leicester Town Hall.

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