A look inside the first medical marijuana dispensary to open in Wareham

By Matthew Bernat | May 18, 2018
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Pharmacannis Massachusetts, Inc. Executive Director Shelley Stormo, left, and Verilife General Manager Holly Carroll give a tour of a new medical marijuana dispensary.

Five years after it was a first announced, a medical marijuana dispensary is set to open this month in a historic property on Main Street.

A grand opening for Verilife, 112 Main St., will be held in Besse Park (located across the street from the dispensary) on May 31 from 4 to 7 p.m. Officials from Pharmacannis Massachusetts, Inc., the company that owns and operates the dispensary, said the facility is tentatively set to open May 22.

“We’re super excited to start serving patients in Wareham,” said Shelley Stormo, executive director for Pharmacannis Massachusetts. “It’s been a pleasure working with the town and I anticipate that will continue.”

The opening will end a lengthy process that featured the legalization of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts. Recreational sales were not part of the company’s original plan. However, in response, Stormo said Verilife will sell product later this summer. A date has not yet been determined.

In the meantime, Verilife will be focused on medical patients. The first floor of the building is nearly complete. During a recent tour, Stormo explained security measures, the patient intake process and sales.

Before a patient a walks through the dispensary’s doors, they must show a medical marijuana card and another form of identification. Patients are then buzzed inside where an employee will double check identification.

New patients are provided educational material and for those that want to receive one-on-one consultations in a private room. Afterward, they are brought into the dispensing area, which is also secured and requires patients to be buzzed in, where they can buy marijuana and check out a small selection of pipes, vaporizers and more.

Stormo said those products are sold for the benefit of patients.

“Many of our patients are 55 and older and may not be comfortable walking into a head shop,” said Stormo.

The interior is modern and uncluttered. Medicine and products are stored behind locked glass shelves during the day and moved into a vault every night.

Marijuana sold at the site will be tested following state guidelines. Starting in 2019, most of the cannabis sold at the company's Wareham site will be grown at a Pharmacannis-owned facility in Holliston. Until then, products for sale will be purchased through Massachusetts-based wholesalers, said Stormo.

Medical patients will be limited to purchasing 10 ounces of cannabis every 60 days. Adult use customers, who must be 21 or older, may purchase 1 ounce of cannabis over that same period, said Stormo.

Security will be tight at the facility. Everyone entering the building must have a valid ID or medical cannabis card, and there will be 24-hour video surveillance with a robust alarm system, said Stormo.

“Everything is restricted access,” she said.

She noted that under state law, employees reserve the right to turn away potential customers who “are not appropriate for any reason.”

Stormo said Verilife is emphasizes patient care, ensuring they are using the medicine properly.

“It’s not a traditional, ‘take this pill three times a day,’ type of prescription,” said Stormo. “We tell patients to go low and slow, seeing how the medicine will affect them and follow up to make sure the dose is right…It’s a collaborative process.”

Delivery of medical marijuana from Verilife is set to start in July. There will be no deliveries for recreational marijuana, she said.

Stormo noted that six employees will be on site during the day and the dispensary is projected to serve 2,000 individual patients during the first year it’s open.

The dispensary will bring in some additional money for the town. As part of the company’s host agreement with the Town of Wareham, $100,000 will be paid to the town this year, $125,000 in 2019 and $150,000 in 2020.

Verilife will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Stormo said interested patients should call to confirm the exact day the dispensary is set to open. For more information, call 508-538-9070 or email: maoutreach@pharmacannis.com.

Upcoming, dispensary officials will host an informational dinner for medical professionals on June 7 at 6:15 p.m. at the Brew Fish restaurant in Marion. RSVP is required by calling 508-538-9070.

A new medical marijuana dispensary is set to open at 112 Main St. later this month. (Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
A look behind the sales counter at the Verilife medical marijuana dispensary. (Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
The Verilife medical marijuana facility will host a grand opening celebration on May 31. (Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
Pipes, vaporizers and more will be sold in the dispensary in addition to medical marijuana. (Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
(Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
Comments (14)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | May 19, 2018 07:53

Is that $100K, $125K, then $150K the revenue that a previous article stated would fund the library?


This all looks like it will be fine.  Good looking building, professional, upscale  medical use product.  I am convinced that this ain't where pot heads go to buy a cheap quarter ounce full of seeds and stems.  Cheech & Chong should not be hanging out in front of this place.  It's time  to get past that stereotype and accept this just like Rite Aid and CVS pharmacy.  Yet, just like too much of anything, I don't think we need these popping up everywhere in town.  This one was lucky to get in first.


Posted by: cranky pants | May 19, 2018 09:56

Congratulations on cutting through the thick hats and red tape... The store looks great !

Posted by: Theresa ONeill | May 20, 2018 07:10

Excellent reuse of the building. Good luck to the business and good for Wareham officials for being progressive on this issue.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | May 20, 2018 08:49

Will the Board of Health also require that no flavored products with minimum pricing standards and catchy names be sold here or are they going to prove to the world that they are hypocrites?

Posted by: cranky pants | May 20, 2018 08:59

They aren't selling tobacco at this place... It's products derived from marijuana.

They aren't regulating the flavored ice cream at Perry's are they ?

Posted by: Spherebreaker | May 21, 2018 13:28

They are hypocrites if they allow pot sold if its flavored, candied, sweetened, baked, liquefied or altered in any way from its unadulterated form. There should be no  colorful packaging or catching names that imply these products to be safe or may promote use by children. There should be a minimum price set and enforced thru the use of undercover agents.

Posted by: WantToSeeChange | May 21, 2018 21:13

Oh Sphere, we all know that if they did that, they might put the place out of business and Wareham couldn't collect it's $100K+.   The smoke shops don't give the town $100K+ yearly...  Time will tell if they regulate these shops like that, but I am just going to guess it won't happen for a few years.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | May 22, 2018 07:50

The BOH has no problem trying to put Wareham business's out of business and inconveniencing the Towns residents with their maniacal control fetish. They will be total hypocrites to not impose the same standards on pot as they do other products.   

Posted by: Peter W. Teitelbaum | May 23, 2018 10:51

FYI, the law that legalized marijuana sales in Massachusetts doesn't give local Boards of Health any regulatory authority - but state law does give Boards of Health the authority to regulate tobacco sales.

Posted by: cranky pants | May 23, 2018 12:20

Whomp, there it is.

Posted by: cranky pants | May 23, 2018 12:20

Whomp, there it is.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | May 23, 2018 13:14

The BOH will try to get into the pot business so they can impose their will on others, that's how they get their jolly's.

Posted by: Uptohere | Jun 01, 2018 09:41

I don' care how great these stores will look or how much money the town gets. You have turned our town into dealers and have pushed us further into the garbage pit.

Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 01, 2018 13:05

¤¤ News flash ¤¤

This town was already a dealer when the East Wareham comprehensive treatment center was let in. Give up the reefer madness mentality already.

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