Was anything accomplished at the meeting last night? The community session is required by the Cannabis Control Board, offering the most detailed examination yet of JMJ Holdings’ plans to transition to a new use for the former retail destination.
A community outreach meeting took place last night on the use of the Berkshire Shopping Center and there were many questions residents wanted to know about the use and smell of the water and the condition of deterioration of the building.
Thirty members of the community were present.
Many of these questions related to the proposed cannabis facility at the Berkshire Mall. Residents have expressed concerns about water use at the facility and potential issues with sewage.
Mensing was unsure how much water the facility could use once operational, but said he would follow any rules or restrictions put in place by the water district.
Iberkshires reports that,
The plan, according to Mensing, is to use the former JC Penney retail space of about 51,000 square feet for their licensing, which he said would create about 35 new jobs.
Mensing’s group is applying for a Marijuana Product Manufacturing License, Marijuana Cultivation License and Existing Licensee Carrier License.
For the rest of the mall, their plans are to rent or sell to others looking to do various parts of the cannabis supply chain.
When it comes to water issues, the group says they will comply with what the water district requires to obtain rights and purchase that water, regardless of the tariff.
The majority of the facility’s water comes to the city via Pittsfield.
Regarding the condition of the building, which several residents also mentioned, Mensing said his group intends to do all the necessary work to get the facility up and running. He added that there were also plans to make minor improvements to the exterior of the building.
Odors coming from the facility were another topic raised by residents. Mensing said grow rooms would need to be enclosed, along with a carbon filtration system to ensure no odors escape.
Mensing said the group plans to partner with a nonprofit organization called the Big Hope Project, which provides aid to areas affected by the war on drugs. He said they are also willing to work with other interested local organizations.
If everything falls into place, Mensing noted that the facility could, in theory, be open in about a year to 18 months.
Some people were not satisfied with the answers and left towards the end of the meeting, and some people left to protest the procedure. They estimated that he, Mensing, did not answer any questions, one person was overheard saying he did not answer 80% of the questions.
Several times during the meeting, Mensing said he couldn’t answer those questions.
So what’s the next step? I’m sure we’ll hear more about it as the year goes on.