Legalized recreational marijuana sales are back underway at a business in Brockton, but the two-month shutdown on sales at In Good Health will take a toll on city revenue from the pot shop.
BROCKTON — Business has been “steady” at the Brockton marijuana dispensary this week after reopening for adult-use customers with walk-up, curbside pickup, said David Noble, president of In Good Health.
For the first time in two months amid the coronavirus pandemic, recreational marijuana sales were allowed to resume on Monday in Massachusetts but with restrictions, allowing In Good Health to begin a system of online sales and curbside pickup from two sales windows at its 1200 W. Chestnut St. location. Noble said In Good Health is getting cooperation from the influx of customers who are returning after the shutdown, as the business maintains social distancing protocol at its curbside pickup area and follows other public health guidelines.
“The volume has been steady,” said Noble, reached on Tuesday. “There have been no issues at all. We have great customers, who have been respectful of the social distancing requirements and to other customers near them. We provided a lot of instruction and direction and clear markings on the property.”
While recreational sales are back, Noble said In Good Health has lost a significant amount of revenue as a result of the shutdown. In Good Health, which started solely as a medical marijuana dispensary in 2015 before adding recreational sales last year, was allowed by the state in the past two months to continue medical marijuana sales to its certified patients. But the loss of business meant that In Good Health had to furlough 29 people, 11 of whom have been brought back so far, Noble said. Before the coronavirus crisis, there were 98 employees working for In Good Health.
Noble didn’t share how much money his company lost as a result of the shutdown, but said city coffers will take a hit. Brockton gets a 3 percent share of total revenue from In Good Health and another 3 percent share from the state’s 20 percent tax, Noble said.
“We took a substantial loss in revenue from the suspension of adult-use sales and that will, of course, impact the city’s share of the revenue,” Noble said. “The loss to the city will likely be significant.”
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Ward 3 City Councilor Dennis Eaniri, who represents the area where In Good Health operates, said it’s going to be a rough budgetary process preparing for the next fiscal year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and it doesn’t help city government to lose all the revenue it expected for the past two months from the marijuana store. Brockton’s former mayor, Bill Carpenter, once estimated that In Good Health would make somewhere “in the neighborhood of $25 million” in revenue during its first year of recreational marijuana sales, with the city getting a 3 percent share of the revenue through a host community agreement.
“The income David lost himself and what comes to the city is definitely going to be a pinch to us,” Eaniri said. “He has no doubt taken a hit.”
Personally, Eaniri said he didn’t agree with Gov. Charlie Baker shutting down all recreational marijuana sales in Massachusetts during the past two months, before starting to ease restrictions, with barbers, salons, churches and other facilities allowed to reopen this week with restrictions in place. Baker said he worried that the state’s recreational marijuana stores would attract customers from other states and create an environment allowing the spread of coronavirus.
“I could never figure out why we allowed package stores to be open but people purchasing recreational marijuana were limited,” Eaniri said.
While In Good Health lost revenue from sales, it wasn’t forced to waste any of its marijuana products due to the length of the shutdown, Noble said.
“Our manufacturing and cultivation operations have continued as normal with no loss of product,” Noble said.