The Greening of Lynn

Now that the officials of Commonwealth of Massachusetts have welcomed the business of medical marijuana, a new

Hipolito Cruz, assistant manager,
and owner Joseph Lekach of Apotcha.

store has opened in Lynn. In the coming months, several more recreational marijuana shops are planned to open in Lynn.

Just two weeks ago Apotcha, a medical marijuana facility opened at 491 Lynnway.

Apotcha owner Joseph Lekach, a graduate of Babson, said the 4,600 square-foot building is set up for the medical marijuana sales. The highly regulated industry, starting from the grow facility in Fitchburg and to the electronic medical ID used to access to the facility and to track the product at all times.

The grow facility is approved and monitored by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission, and was set up last January to begin growing plants being sold now.

The state also regulates the product, dictating that no more than 10 ounces every 60 days can be sold to an individual customer. The product comes in sativa, indica, and hybrid variations. The product is furthur broken down into strains like OG Kush, Lemon Haze and more. Customers will also be told the amount of THC in the bud, anywhere from 12 percent to 27 percent.

“Start low,” Lekach said, adding that his employees can help with any concerns.

Patients visiting the “bud” table in the shop will be also to see and smell what’s available. There display cases of water pipes, pipes and other tools used for smoking. There are lovely display cases with edibles to be consumed by those who opt not to smoke but still want the effects of THC or CDB, two of the chemicals found in cannabis.

“We also track all our inventory,” Lekach said. “We are able to make suggestions for future purchases. We’re known for our one on one service.”

Medical marijuana was approved in Massachusetts in 2012 and recreational marijuana was approved in the Commonwealth in 2016.

The law does allows recreational marijuana to be purchased at a medical site once regulations are approved. Apotcha has obtained its recreational license, and will be selling in 2019. Apotcha also has another shop in Arlington.

Ward 2 Councillor Rick Starbard, who chairs the Recreational Cannabis Site Plan Review subcommittee, said the city voted for recreational use and he is just following the will of the voters.

The city’ Economic Development Industrial Corporation (EDIC), headed by James Cowdell handles the first round of the vetting process.

“Jim has been very open, and transparent in having meetings.,” Starbard said.

In November the first proposed recreational site came before the cities Recreational Cannabis Site Plan Review Committee. This group, Natural Selections, based out of Colorado would like to set up shop next to The Blue Ox on Oxford Street.

After visiting the grow site and seeing what goes in producing marijuana, Starbard said it does make you wonder what’s in the marijuana sold illegally on the street.

The Recreational Cannabis Site Plan Review Committee has also reviewed Good Chemistry for a shop at 696 Western Ave.; New England Canna, 7 Mount Vernon St. and Harvest Moon at 32-34 State St.

There is no word yet on when they might open.

One good thing: The host agreement the city has with Apotcha, giving $100,000 to the cities general fund. In addition, a 3 percent tax is tagged on each sale.

“The store is run very professionally, ultra-high security. It looks like a Starbucks,” Starbard said.

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