Representatives Unveil Plans for Back Bay Dispensary

Representatives for a medical cannabis dispensary currently operating on Milk Street outlined their plans to move to the current location of Mooncusser Fish House in the Back Bay while adding recreational, adult-use marijuana to the menu during a city-sponsored meeting Thursday, March 7, at the Boston Park Plaza.

Bob Mayerson, special advisor to the CEO of Columbia Care, the parent company of Patriot Care at 21 Milk St., which operates in 14 states nationwide, as well as Malta, said the proposed location of the dispensary is 304 Stuart St. at the intersection of Columbus Avenue, and the dispensary would occupy 7,200 square feet on four floors, including the basement, but initially only the first and third floors would accommodate customers.

The hours of operation would need to be negotiated with the mayor’s office if the application is approved, Mayerson said, but the Milk Street location is currently open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. “That would probably be about right, but again, that’s a discussion that has to take place with the city,” he added.

The dispensary is expecting around 600 adult-use transactions a day at the new location, although Mayerson said that figure is somewhat inflated, since many around 50 adult-use dispensaries would be operating by Patriot Care’s expected opening date in November or December.

 “We’re pretty focused on moving people along at an average of one every six minutes and even less time for recreational customers,” Mayerson said.

According to a traffic study commissioned by Patriot Care, peak demand at the new location would be during the afternoon, with 40 percent of customers expected to drive to the facility, occupying an average of 43 parking spaces an hour during these times.

Mayerson said Patriot Care spent nine months scouting the proposed location, which it chose largely due to its proximity to the Orange and Green MBTA stations, as well as three bus lines.

But despite Mayerson’s assurances that Patriot Care’s new facility would only have a 2.5 percent impact on traffic in the area, Meg Mainzer-Cohen, president and executive director of the Back Bay Association, expressed concern about pedestrian safety during peak hours.

“This is a dramatically different neighborhood…and much more porous than where you are on Milk Street,” Mainzer-Cohen said. “It’s like comparing bicyclists to cars.”

Bill Koster, a resident of One Charles, said Patriot Care’s efficient customer service as promised could actually exasperate traffic problems in the neighborhood. 

“With the high turnover in terms of the product you’re selling and the time [customers] are going to be in the store, there’s going to be a temptation to say, ‘Let me just run into the store,’ and double-park,” Koster said.

George Agganis, vice president of security and safety for Columbia Care, said the new Patriot Care would boast a state-of-the-art security system to protect both the interior and exterior of the facility, with “analytic surveillance” that uses security cameras to monitor the site premises in real time.

Patriot Care presently has cameras at three intersections near the Milk Street facility, and intends to employ similar security measures at the proposed Bay Village location, which Agganis said “would also be a great tool for Boston Police to have.”

Besides having a Boston Police officer on paid detail outside the establishment, Patriot Care plans to conduct “bi-monthly patrols” to assist police efforts in canvasing the area and post a security guard outside to enforce restrictions, such as no loitering, no littering and no double-parking, in addition to checking would-be customers for proper identification (only either a Massachusetts-issued medical marijuana card or state ID will be accepted), Agganis said.

Once customers’ ages are verified, they will be directed to separate queues for medical and recreational use. All patrons will then have their identification screened again by a security guard inside their respective sale areas, as well as by a cashier upon receiving their product and exiting the facility.

The product itself would be delivered from the cultivation center in Lowell to a side door on Stuart Street and immediately deposited into an on-site vault.

Moreover, Patriot Care representatives pointed to their impeccable track record with the police and mayor’s office since opening as the city’s first medical marijuana dispansary two and a half years ago.

“One of the great things we hear about Milk Street is that people don’t know we exist there, and I take that as a compliment,” Agganis said.

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