First recreational cannabis store in Dartmouth officially opens

Mar 28, 2023

The Solar Cannabis dispensary on Faunce Corner Road, the first of its kind in Dartmouth, held its grand opening ceremony on Tuesday, March 28. 

Cutting the ribbon was Solar Therapeutics CEO Edward Dow. 

“We hope to be a good partner within the community,” Dow said. “We want to give back where we can and bring a service the town needs.”

How exactly Solar will give back is still unclear. In May 2021, Solar and the town of Dartmouth signed a community host agreement that stipulated, among other requirements, that Solar would give three percent of its gross sales to the town . 

However, state legislation from last fall charged the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission with reviewing new and existing community host agreements. That means Solar’s agreement with Dartmouth may not be in place for long. 

Contrary to Dow’s previous statements, Dartmouth town administrator Shawn MacInnes said that the host community agreement signed by Solar and the town of Dartmouth is still in effect, but it could be reviewed by the commission. MacInnes said Dartmouth will abide by whatever the Cannabis Control Commission decides. 

Dow said the host community agreement was “very easy,” as it outlined exactly how the company would give back to Dartmouth. In absence of that agreement, he said Solar still plans to find ways to contribute, such as partnering with the town on local initiatives, but there are no concrete plans in place. 

Solar Marketing and Communications Director Derek Gould said that the company is considering donating to local nonprofits and holding fundraisers with them. 

“What’s great about having this come to the community is the removal of the stigma of cannabis,” said Solar Director of Sales Tiffany Watkins. “Having people have a visual of what it looks like to erect a cannabis business in their town, in their community — with nothing ominous. It’s a beautiful building, providing jobs and providing structure for the community.”

Both MacInnes and Dow emphasized the number of jobs that the new cannabis store will create, which Dow said will mostly be held by Dartmouth residents. The host community agreement requires that at least 50 percent of employees at the store live in Dartmouth.

“We’re always looking for new businesses to come to town,” MacInnes said. “It helps with our tax base, it helps with employment… It helps us to build a better community, and it brings more people to Dartmouth, the gem of the South Coast.”

MacInnes wanted to be sure that the company who moved into the space on Faunce Corner Road was professional and stable, and was impressed with Solar’s operation in Somerset, where it cultivates its product. 

The grand opening brought out some community members too, most of whom had a connection to the cannabis industry. Alexis Dias, marketing manager at Fairhaven Smoke Shop, was excited for Dartmouth to have access to a retail cannabis store.  

“There’s been a stigma about these types of stores,” Dias said. “It’s important to allow people to get the medicine they need.” 

The Dartmouth location is Solar’s third retail store in Massachusetts, the most allowed for one company under state law. Dias said she appreciates the attitude Solar has brought to its relationship with Dartmouth.

“If someone doesn’t have the community-centric attitude to start, they will never have it,” she said. 

Solar Cannabis Co. plans to have more events like the grand opening, where community members can come and appreciate cannabis — despite the fact they cannot use it during the event. The next such gathering is on marijuana’s most famous holiday, April 20, and will feature live music and THC-free gummies and chocolates.