May 15, 2019 | In the News

Solar Thera in the WPRI News

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SOMERSET, Mass. (WPRI) — The South Coast is set to get another marijuana dispensary this spring. This time, in Somerset.

Solar Therapeutics CEO Edward Dow says the company called for its Final Certificate of Registration (FCR) about three weeks ago, which can be about a month-long process.

Dow says the Cannabis Control Commission and Department of Public Health will need to complete a final inspection, looking for anything needed to be corrected or adjusted before Solar Therapeutics can open its doors.

Dow says prior to breaking ground, multiple town meetings were held, certain town bylaws were changed, and zoning for the property at 1400 Brayton Point Road was adjusted.

Solar Therapeutics will offer medical marijuana first but recreational sales will start soon after, according to Dow.

Customers will need to bring their medical marijuana identification and/or state identification card, depending on which products they’re looking to buy.

The site is nestled in between Route 6 and I-195.

While traffic congestion has been a concern for other dispensary locations in Massachusetts, Dow says he believes the location off a main road is a good thing.

“I don’t anticipate the problem that other locations had but the first week may be different than the following weeks,” he said.

The site will also have more than 150 parking spots, “which is not typical,” according to Dow.

Northeast Alternatives, a dispensary located just a few minutes away in Fall River, had such traffic and parking concerns.

The business does not accept walk-in customers for recreational sales but instead asks people to sign up to be in a “virtual line” through an app, which will notify them when it’s time to go to the facility.

The concept is something Dow says Solar Therapeutics will also offer if customers want it but for now, it will be a walk-in facility, with no appointments necessary.

However, Dow says it wasn’t originally easy finding a location everyone was happy with.

“One of the properties we were actively working on, we lost from the landlord’s concern for parking after the news came out with the Western Massachusetts locations, the traffic slam that they had up there,” he recalled. “We lost at least one location, probably two locations just from that alone.”

Dow says something that makes Solar Therapeutics stand out from other dispensaries is its green carbon footprint.

“In the event of an electric grid emergency, we’ll be able to pull off in 100% island mode, which I think is incredibly unique,” he explained. “We’re also offsetting well over 50% of our carbon emissions.”

Dow says the location is 70,000 square feet, with space dedicated for retail sales, cultivation and growing, but there could be opportunity to add more dispensaries inside.

Community Connections, which was located in the same facility as Solar Therapeutics, just finished moving out of the building. The group provides life-enriching services that promote optimal independence for people with disabilities.

Dow said Solar Therapeutics donated $30,000 to Community Connections to help with its expansion and relocation in Fall River.

The dispensary customers visit this spring will sell both recreational and medical marijuana in the same space, though Dow says the goal is to have separate ones for each eventually. Dow says about 40 people will be allowed inside at a time.

Dow says flower products, flower derivatives, marijuana infused products (MIP), cannabis infused products (CIP), edibles and/or drinks, and a myriad of other products on the market will be offered.

“We’re actively watching the market at all times. Both the supply side, the demand side, the neighboring states like Rhode Island,” Dow said. “I think that’s going to be the key, is supply, supply, supply, at least for the next year to 18 months, maybe two years.”

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