Medical marijuana dispensary hosts grand opening in Wareham
Verilife, the first medical marijuana dispensary to set up shop in Wareham, celebrated its grand opening on Thursday night with a party in Besse Park.
The public was invited to attend the event and ribbon cutting ceremony, which included free food and live music. In the works for some time, the opening was delayed by the state's complex and lengthy application process. Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 2012. Recreational marijuana was approved by a state ballot question in 2016.
“This evening has been five years in the making,” said Pharmacannis Massachusetts, Inc. Executive Director Shelley Stormo. “So it’s pretty surreal for us.”
Artist Robert Bank gave glass blowing demonstrations inside the Verilife tent. A raffle to benefit programs for Wareham seniors was also held. Prizes included Red Sox tickets and gift certificates from local restaurants.
“We really want to support the local community,” Stormo said. “For us, it’s all about serving Wareham.”
Selectman Alan Slavin was also in attendance at Thursday’s event, though he was hesitant to comment on Verilife’s future.
“It’s a new and interesting business,” Slavin said. “They have some of the best qualifications, so we just have to see where things go from here.”
Verilife currently holds one of Wareham’s three recreational licenses for marijuana and plans to begin sales once it becomes legal to do so this summer.
Stormo said that Verilife already had a successful soft opening with medical marijuana patients the week before on May 24. It’s anticipated that Verilife will serve 2,000 individual patients within its first year, many of whom are 55 and older.
“A lot of the people we work with are thankful that they don’t have to drive to Brookline or Brockton anymore,” Stormo said. “Medical marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, but we have a huge problem with patient access.”
Members of the Verilife team took time to talk with attendees one-on-one, many of whom were interested in medical marijuana.
“I have fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, and scoliosis,” said Barbara Carroll. “I’m in a lot of pain, but I don’t like taking pills all the time.”
Carroll said she’s a firm believer in what Verilife is doing, and hopes that one day marijuana won’t be so stigmatized.
“It’s a legitimate thing,” Carroll said. “And I hope Verilife helps a lot of people.”