GILL — Pending the necessary approvals, the former Green River Powersports building could house Gill’s first recreational marijuana dispensary, which developers hope to open next summer.
Attorney James McMahon, principal of McMahon Strategic Development, informed the Selectboard on Monday about his clients’ plans to open Leaf Joy, a retail-only marijuana store. McMahon, who has worked with cannabis clients since 2014, represents PGM Property Management.
McMahon said PGM Property Management has the property at 1 Main Road under contract “contingent upon acquiring all necessary approvals from the town of Gill.” While the new store would join a slew of other cannabis businesses that plan to open in Franklin County, it would be Gill’s first such establishment.
“It’s a big first step,” commented Town Administrator Ray Purington.
McMahon said Leaf Joy’s mission is to not only be a positive business influence on the town, but provide a comfortable, upscale shopping experience for locals.
“The plan is to really turn it into an absolutely state-of-the-art facility,” McMahon said.
He explained the facility would exist purely to sell recreational cannabis products. No medical cannabis products would be sold. All other cannabis-related processes, such as delivery, cultivation and manufacturing, would take place off-site. He also added that no consumption of products would be permitted at 1 Main Road.
Including property acquisition and renovation costs, McMahon expects the project to cost around $1.5 million.
“It’s a family business and is entirely self-funded, with no corporate or multi-state cannabis company investment,” he wrote in an email.
Monday’s Selectboard meeting was the first step toward Leaf Joy coming to fruition. McMahon said next steps include holding a community outreach meeting via Zoom; getting the town’s approval of a special permit and site plan review; executing a host community agreement with the Selectboard; and finally, the state application, inspection and approval process through the Cannabis Control Commission. McMahon said PGM Property Management hopes to receive town approval by the end of 2021 and state approval by spring 2022, with a goal of completing the renovations and opening by summer 2022.
The only concerns voiced by the Selectboard as to the feasibility of the project came from Chair Greg Snedeker, who wanted to ensure that the business wouldn’t pose traffic and parking overflow issues. McMahon noted the relatively large size of the 1 Main Road parking lot, and assured the board that he wants to be “as collaborative and cooperative as possible” with town officials to allow for seamless integration into the community.
McMahon said Leaf Joy would benefit Gill financially through “increased property tax after the site is fully renovated, the 3% cannabis local sales tax and the 3% gross revenue share of the community impact fee, a fee assessed to directly offset any town expenses related to the project.”
He also emphasized the importance of employing local workers, saying that Leaf Joy hopes to employ “roughly 25 to 30 individuals to work at the store, and will have a policy in place to give hiring preference to Gill residents, of course, within all bounds of equal employment protections.”
Other ways in which Leaf Joy looks to give back to the community include having community service days to help with local projects or town clean-ups, donating to local nonprofits, creating co-promotional opportunities with other businesses, sharing knowledge with other potential marijuana businesses and hiring local companies to oversee the renovation work.
Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or email@example.com.