Four New Berkshires Dispensaries for 2022 | Dispensaries | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

Four New Berkshires Dispensaries for 2022
The throne at Great Barrington Dispensary, where customers can assume the role of "Your High-ness."

While New York’s adult-use cannabis industry is yet to get going, the Massachusetts recreational market continues to grow at a remarkable pace. Sales in the Bay State exceeded $1 billion in 2021, more than double the amount recorded for the three-year total in 2018, 2019, and 2020, according to public data from the state Cannabis Control Commission. This year is set to be the most profitable yet—estimated to draw $1.4 billion in gross revenue.

All this comes from 387 licensed cannabis retailers, with a further 28 pending applications, supplied by 296 licensed cultivators. And with recreational cannabis bills having also passed in New York and Connecticut in April 2021 and June 2021 respectively, the Northeast green rush that began in Massachusetts continues to spread further from its borders. 

New York is progressing apace—Sen. Jeremy Cooney recently announced plans to introduce legislation designed to make it easier and less costly for financial institutions to service adult-use cannabis businesses in the state. At the same time, lawmakers are approaching an agreement to approve a budget that includes provisions for recreational cannabis businesses to benefit from tax deductions available to other industries. 

Connecticut is also blazing its own trail, not only in a licensing lottery that does not require information from applicants to be pre-reviewed, but also opting not to cap the number of licenses it can issue. 

For the time being, however, as New York and Connecticut find their regulatory footing, Massachusetts continues to not only supply its own citizens, but recreational users from the Empire and Constitution States, as well as Vermont and New Hampshire. 

The Berkshires enjoy a robust recreational market, with dispensaries slinging everything from flower to tinctures, edibles and more to eager, multistate consumers. The first adult-use enterprise, Theory Wellness in Great Barrington, opened its doors on a cold day in January 2019, sparking a chain reaction of adult-use enterprises throughout the region—Canna Provisions in Lee, The Pass in Sheffield, Temescal Wellness in Pittsfield, the list goes on. 

Not all has been plain sailing. Resistance has been met in various forms, and as recently as April 7, after North Adams Mayor Jennifer Macksey filed a lawsuit contesting the town Planning Board’s decision to grant New England Alchemy a permit for an outdoor cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facility, citing concerns pertaining to “odor control,” the firm pulled up stakes and is currently looking elsewhere to site its facility. Such protests are but bumps in the road for a regional cannabis industry that continues to grow with gusto.

Adult-use dispensaries continue to pop up across the Berkshires, tussling for market share to an increasingly savvy body of consumers. Following up an article from April 2021, where Chronogram profiled the 10 Berkshires dispensaries in business at that time, this profile provides information on four further locations, and how each has found its own, distinct way to leave a footprint on the recreational cannabis landscape. 

Four New Berkshires Dispensaries for 2022
Great Barrington Dispensary is located inside a 170-year-old Gothic Revival mansion.

Great Barrington Dispensary | 454 Main Street, Great Barrington

For a town of just 6,852 inhabitants, adding a fifth adult-use dispensary might seem like a bold move. But the intention behind opening Great Barrington Dispensary in March of this year was to offer an alternative customer experience to something purely transactional. “We created an interactive space,” explains Michaella Tretheway, general manager. “What customers refer to as ‘Cannabis Castle,’ where they can enjoy our medieval vibe, taking photos on our throne, and be encouraged to spend time understanding the product they are purchasing.”

Some of that product is the store’s own outdoor-grown flower—raised far from the environs of Indiola House (the mid-19th-century manor building that contains the dispensary), at No. 9 in Wareham, Massachusetts, on the state’s far eastern shore. “Our growers have homed in on authentic terpene profiles,” continues Tretheway, “and the flower they produce goes into what is now our best-selling preroll.”

 Alongside pre-rolled joints, customers can also purchase topicals, concentrates, vape cartridges and batteries, as well as a range of edibles. 

Four New Berkshires Dispensaries for 2022
Liberty Market Dispansary in Lanesborough features locally made products like glassware from the Berkshire Bong Company.

Liberty Market | 25 North Main Street, Lanesborough

 As far as maximizing interstate consumer traffic goes, Liberty Market could argue that its location is the pick of the bunch. The New York border is 20 minutes away and Vermont’s is 45, placing the dispensary at the crossroads for travelers from both states.

For Liberty’s COO, AnnMarie Belair, however, what sets Liberty apart is their relationship with the local community: “It’s a true Berkshires-esque experience here,” comments Belair. “We support small businesses, artists, and entrepreneurs by allowing them to showcase and sell their items.” 

Small businesses who sling their wares at Liberty include Berkshire Bong Company and the Berkshire Dog—a fitting choice, since Liberty is also dog-friendly, meaning that Rex can join you when buying your ganja. 

Speaking of which, customers can purchase flower (of which there is an extensive offering, even by Massachusetts standards), pre-rolls, concentrates, and edibles, including LEVIA Seltzers, and a range of gummies. Liberty’s tinctures menu is particularly impressive, stocking a mixture of hybrid, indica, and sativa blends from Tree Works and Garden Remedies, among others.

Four New Berkshires Dispensaries for 2022
Clear Sky Dispensary in North Adams is located in a former Friendly's restaurant.

Clear Sky | 221 State Road, North Adams

Clear Sky in North Adams is the Berkshires representative of a trio of dispensaries, the others being the group’s Worcester flagship store and a soon-to-open branch in Belchertown. In North Adams, Clear Sky is located in a former Friendly’s building that dates back to the 1960s, having switched the ice cream for gelato (a popular hybrid strain) in March 2021. In recognition of its ancestry, a Friendly’s door is hung on one of the walls of the dispensary as an art installation. 

“Art is part of our identity,” explains Kristina Alexander, general manager at Clear Sky, “and we have strong ties to the Common Folk Artist collective, with their artists exhibiting on our walls on a rotating basis.”

For the consumer, Clear Sky’s overwhelming attraction is their comprehensive flower menu, with products from Sira Naturals, Bountiful Farms, and Smyth, as well as cultivars from Nature’s Heritage and Harbor House Collective. Concentrates, topicals, and an impressive range of edibles are also available if bud just isn’t your thing. 

For studious cannabis enthusiasts, Clear Sky also stocks a range of books on all things weed, including bud guides, anthropological studies, and more.

Jack’s Cannabis Co. | 1021 South Street, Pittsfield

The eponymous brainchild of Jake Carney, Jack’s Cannabis Co. grew from the ashes of Colonial Cannabis into a two-pronged extension in Northampton and Pittsfield. Nevertheless, shopping is a distinctive experience at Jack’s, where products are ranked by a financial tier; opening the door for buyers on a shoestring. There is also a “Mix & Match” option for products within the same tier, with prices dictated by bulk cost, rather than by the single unit.

Jack’s comprehensive menu is certainly impressive, with a dozen or more flower options, including products from Trulieve, the Botanist, and Nimbus Flowah, as well as Revolutionary Clinics, Cultivate, and Cresco. There are also concentrates, vaporizers, and edibles, plus topicals that include a high-CBD, high-THC transdermal pain gel by Sanctuary Medicals. But it is the seemingly endless list of pre-roll options—Wonka Bars from Nature’s Heritage, NF Nightmare by Cultivate, multi-packs from Ace Weidman’s, the list goes on—that really catches the eye. 

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