Marijuana retailer says it’s a relief to be opening soon after 2-month closure

Cannabis retailers in Massachusetts have been closed for adult-use sales since the end of March after Gov. Baker deemed them non-essential.

Marijuana retailer says it's a relief to be opening soon after 2-month closure

BOSTON — On March 9, Kobie Evans and the staff at Pure Oasis, Boston’s first marijuana retailer were elated to be opening, but two weeks later, because of the coronavirus pandemic, they had to close.

“It was actually the true definition of an emotional roller coaster,” Evans, co-owner of Pure Oasis said during a Zoom interview.

They stayed in touch with the staff and have begun bringing them back as the state’s phase one reopening is set to begin Monday and includes adult-use marijuana shops like his, dispensaries for medical marijuana patients remained open as essential services.

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“It was a relief, honestly this is about our employees this is about the people we serve,” Evans explained.

Curbside pickup is the new method of purchasing marijuana under state guidelines.

“The Cannabis Control Commission, with the cooperation of licensees, municipalities, and most importantly, registered qualifying patients, has demonstrated that we are effectively able to preserve public health and safety through curbside operations and other emergency protocols,” said Executive Director Shawn Collins in a news release. “I am confident that our adult-use licensees and their customers will adapt just the same when they reopen under similar protocols next week.”

Evans explained how curbside sales would work.

“It’s not too different if you were ordering Chinese food from your local restaurant,” Evans said.“

Customers won’t be permitted inside the store, instead, they’ll make appointments to pick up their cannabis products with staff outside to monitor social distancing.

“Reduce contact, minimize exposure, keep people safe, that’s our goal,” Evans stated.

Through guidance from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and Governor Charlie Baker in addition to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines, Evans feels the roadmap to reopening is clear. Evans said the staff is being trained to work with personal protective equipment and the public in the new reality of doing business.

In a news release, the Cannabis Control Commission said licensees can conduct transactions through electronic means, and transfer products in the parking area of their businesses, or at the entrance of the facility.

“In the interest of public safety, cash payments will only be accepted inside. When practicing curbside operations, agents must first verify the age of the patient, caregiver or customer, plus the registration status and medical marijuana allotment of a patient or caregiver, before they complete a purchase,” the CCC continued.

A spokesperson for Cultivate Premium Cannabis in Leicester said the plan is to open very soon.

The company’s statement went on to say they are working to implement new procedures and guidelines issued by the Cannabis Control Commission.

“While we hope to reopen on May 25, we want to ensure these safety protocols are in place for our staff and customers. We want to make sure we are always providing a positive and safe experience for everyone, before relaunching adult use,” said Francy Wade, spokesperson for Cultivate. Not all customers say they are ready to go back to retail marijuana shops.

Alex Tambascio of Watertown said he has purchased marijuana products from New England Treatment Access, or NETA which will reopen in Brookline on Tuesday, according to a spokesperson.

“There's still going to be a line of people up there.”

He has no plans to return to buying marijuana products from retailers even if they are part of phase one.

“You got to let the dust settle we’re not in a safe period from my perspective I’m not rushing to do anything that’s not essential and that sentence covers recreational use in my mind,” Tambascio said.

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