The Town’s third marijuana dispensary, located in a complex on Pleasant Street that will also have apartments, got approval from the Planning Board Wednesday night.
Bud’s Goods & Provisions will be going into part of the retail space at the Water Mills at Bridge Point mixed-use development at 330-350 Pleasant St., near the intersection with Rosedale Road. The dispensary will have adult-use sales, also known as recreational.
In July, Bud’s entered into a Community Host Agreement with the Town, which includes paying 3 percent of its gross profits to the Town to offset the impact of the dispensary on Watertown, and a $10,000 charitable donation annually. The company also plans to hire local residents. The Worcester location hired 30 percent of its staff from the area, said Brian Grossman, an attorney representing Bud’s.
The dispensary will have a retail area where people can speak to staff and choose their products, and an area for online customers to pick up orders, Grossman said. Customers will be required to show ID to prove they are of legal age to purchase marijuana before they enter.
Security will include CCTVs which will be accessible by the Watertown Police Department. Placement of the cameras will be done in conjunction with the police, Grossman said.
The idea of having a dispensary in the area concerned Lou Berk of Riverpath LLC, which owns the property that sits next door to the mixed-use complex where Bud’s will be located.
“I don’t think this use will benefit the neighborhood,” Berk said. “It is one thing to look at the area is now area — commercial sites, light industrial — it is going to look very different with 99 units of residential above it, and whatever amount they are building across the street. It will look very different there.”
Berk said he lives in Brookline and he has friends who live near the NETA marijuana dispensary there. They have complained of people smoking marijuana on the street. He worries that will happen around Bud’s, including near his property and along the Charles River Path that runs behind the properties.
A neighbor sent an email to the Planning Board during the meeting, which was held remotely because of COVID-19 restrictions, to say she is concerned about people using marijuana on the path along the river, and noted that there are already people who smoke cigarettes and leave garbage in that area.
Bud’s President and CEO Alex Mazin said he too is concerned about that, and said his employees will be vigilant about preventing people from using products from Bud’s in the area.
“I do not want to become known as a business that’s creating that sort of environment. We will very closely monitor those things,” Mazin said. “We will have a camera point down that pathway (through the property), as much as we can put a camera on the building, as allowed in the lease,”
Bud’s will also have security guards who will “sweep” the area around the dispensary every half hour, or so, to make sure people aren’t smoking marijuana or using other products, or loitering and littering. He added that in the Worcester location which opened two months ago, the Bud’s staff goes around the neighborhood cleaning up trash, regardless if it came from their customers or not.
Planning Board member Janet Buck said the problem of trash is already there.
“It seems to me the trash and disturbances along there is much more associated with employees of those industrial businesses in the area coming out, smoking cigarettes, dumping ash, dumping cigarettes and dumping their lunch,” Buck said.
Watertown Senior Planner Gideon Schreiber said the situation may improve as the area is redeveloped.
“The more eyes that are on it, these residential projects will be creating more people having eyes on these areas that have typically been behind chainlink fences and barbed wire with overgrowth,” Schreiber said. “It will be a different environment than what was there before.”
Berks also worried about customers going to Bud’s will park in the lot of his property because it is very close to the entrance. Bud’s will share parking in the complex that sits under part of the apartment building.
“My parking lot is much more appealing than going under the building there,” Berk said. “We are in the medical device business. We don’t want to be policing our lot for people who aren’t supposed to be there.”
Mazin said he wants to be a good neighbor.
“I will work closely with Mr. Berk to make sure that he is happy and to make sure my customers are not parking in his lot,” Mazin said. “I am happy to provide him with signage saying this is not Bud’s parking lot and anyone who parks here will be towed at your own risk.”
The hours of the dispensary will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Bud’s requested that it be open to 9 or 10 p.m. to allow for people who work late to shop there. The Planning Board kept it at 8 p.m. because those were the hours approved for the recently approved dispensary Sira Naturals on North Beacon Street.
The state’s Cannabis Control Commission requires that no products be visible from outside, including from a bird’s-eye-view, so Bud’s plans to have an opaque glazing covering the entirety of the windows. Planning Board members requested if there was anyway to change that Bud’s should reduce the amount of glazing. Mazin said the CCC is very strict about the rule.
Normally, a special permit for a marijuana dispensary would be approved by the Zoning Board, but because it is in the Pleasant Street Corridor, the Planning Board is the permit granting authority, Schreiber said.
With approval of the Special Permit, Bud’s must now go to the CCC for final approval of its license. The company’s website lists its Watertown location as coming in the fall of 2021.