| The Patriot Ledger
ROCKLAND — Rockland’s second recreational marijuana dispensary is officially open, though employees currently outnumber customers as word slowly spreads following the business’s soft opening last week.
Mike Westort, owner of Health Circle, said they’ve seen up to 150 customers in a day so far, and that number is doubling each day they are open, at the 21 Commerce Road store.
“What I’d like to do is 1,000 people a day,” he said.
Opening the dispensary has been a five-year journey for Westort, lined with rule changes, law changes, the divestment of a company and town meeting votes. When he first contemplated opening a dispensary with his wife, Lea Westort, only medical marijuana was legal.
The couple looked at locations in Hull, Hanover and Norwell, but started looking elsewhere as each town voted to ban recreational sales. They ultimately settled on Rockland and Marshfield.
June 2019: Recreational pot slow to come to South Shore
Health Circle had a soft opening last week and people are still trickling in. The store was only added to major marijuana dispensary directories this week, and they have not started to advertise, Westort said.
Over the past few days, the store has started to open additional services. In additional to the normal retail space, it also has an “express” line, essentially a pickup counter, as well as curbside delivery.
Westort said being able to offer curbside pickup, only allowed because of and during the pandemic state of emergency, was luck. State regulations require that the product being brought out to a car does not go through a room that has customers in it.
The store has a separated back entrance that allows them to do just that. Many owners Westort has talked to have stopped offering curbside because they don’t have a dedicated exit and have to juggle in-store customers and those waiting outside.
Health Circle Vice President Chris Yang said he developed the dispensary’s offerings to offer the widest breadth of products and strains.
“I wanted to create a one-stop shop,” he said. “The menu hits all the categories of products.”
More: Strong pot sales enable Triple M to deliver big checks to Plymouth
Yang said he wanted to bring some of the variety, which is more prevalent in the western side of the state, to the South Shore. He said he is still open to feedback from customers on what else they would like to see.
Items available in the shop include marijuana flower, pre-rolled joints, vaporizers, tinctures, topicals, concentrates and edibles like gummies, chocolate bars and toffee.
Yang said there is a very “limited flower supply in the state.” Westort said he aims to alleviate some of that problem by also growing marijuana in the future.
Construction manager Paul Jacobson said just over half of the building, 19,000 square feet, will ultimately be used as a grow house. The company wants to expand to medical marijuana, and regulations require they grow whatever they sell.
Mike Westort said most of the “heavy lifting” for the grow house is complete, but the company still has to get building permits to finish the project. He said he wants the first crop to be grown within a year.
March 2020: Rockland marijuana company must re-write loan agreements
Health Circle is also working on opening a second location in a Marshfield building next to the Stellwagen Beer Company on Enterprise Drive. The company received its special permit in November.
October 2018: Marshfield begins negotiating with Health Circle
November 2020: Marshfield approves second retail marijuana dispensary
The first dispensary to open in Rockland was CannaVana in August, at 256 Weymouth St. Health Circle is Rockland’s second dispensary to open and the town has approved a third reactional dispensary on Hingham Street, operated by the national company Cresco Labs.
August 2020: South Shore’s first recreational dispensary opens in Rockland
December 2020: Rockland approves its third marijuana dispensary, this time for Cresco Labs
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Reach reporter Wheeler Cowperthwaite at [email protected]