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Recreational pot coming to the Lynnway

(Courtesy)

LYNN — It’s just what the doctor ordered. 

Apothca Inc., which has been selling medical marijuana since it opened on the Lynnway last fall, will soon add recreational pot to the menu. 

The company won approval by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) Friday to sell the drug to anyone over 21. The 2,000-square-foot shop at the Cooper-Lewis building is the city’s first pot shop. 

“When I found out the news, I jumped out of my chair and went crazy with excitement,” said Joseph Lekach, the company’s 32-year-old CEO.

City Hall could soon be doing the same. He estimated the  company’s financial contribution to the city under the terms a host agreement could net as much as $300,000 or 3 percent of an expected $10 million in sales during the first year. A 3 percent tax approved by Beacon Hill lawmakers will be added to marijuana purchases which would bring another $300,000 to Lynn. The city will get a check in November, the first anniversary of the store opening. 

Mayor Thomas M. McGee, who supported legalizing medical marijuana while a member of the Legislature, said the added cash to the city’s treasury comes at a good time. 

“We balanced the budget, but we face some financial challenges,” he said. “Bringing in revenue from multiple sources is important if we are to provide services residents want.”

Apothca, which has stores in Arlington and one coming to Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, still needs a final inspection before it can open. 

Recreational customers will be able to choose from a variety of marijuana products. For $175, there’s a half ounce of Platinum Garlic, Moonrise, or Mother of Berries pot. Among pot edibles, a 10-pack of Green Apple Gummies cost $19, and milk and dark chocolate bars are $20.

While Apothca is the only place to buy medical and recreational marijuana in Lynn, both are sold at Alternative Therapies Group in Salem. Last year, they became the first recreational marijuana shop to open in Eastern Massachusetts.

The other competition comes from the black market where prices are lower, Lekach said. 

“They beat us on price because they don’t have to contend with a 20 percent margin, we can’t use chemicals to cultivate the cannabis while they can use whatever they want, and they are not taxed,” he said. “But you don’t know what you’re getting when you buy on the street.”

The City Council has approved seven pot shop licenses and there’s one left to be granted. Following an avalanche of opposition earlier this month, the panel tabled a proposal by Diem Cannabis. They proposed a 1,200 square-foot recreational marijuana store in East Lynn. 

At that same meeting, they gave a special permit to Essex Apothecary, which plans to open a boutique-style recreational marijuana store on Western Avenue. 

Ward 6 City Councilor Fred Hogan, whose district includes the Lynnway, said he toured Apothca after he was named to the City Council this year.

“I met with their head of security to be reassured it was operating in the right way and it was, they are well-organized,” he said. “Since I’ve been a councilor there have been no issues.”

Hogan’s challenger in the Ward 6 race, Cinda Danh, said there are benefits to having the store in Lynn.

“We can use the tax revenue to bring it back to our community and its needs,” she said. 

 

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