Rochester’s first planned cannabis retail shop talks safety, town impacts at outreach meeting

Jan 6, 2023

ROCHESTER — Megan’s Organic Market, slated to be Rochester’s first retail cannabis operation, hosted an outreach meeting that now allows the company to apply for its state license.

The San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based company’s dispensary will occupy a free-standing building in the future Rochester Crossroads development.

Megan’s Organic Market says it is 95% women-owned. The dispensary’s shareholders in California own 85% of the company, while Freetown marketing executive Rebecca Levesque owns 10%. Kenneth Steen, the owner of Rochester Crossroads developer Steen Realty and Development Corporation, owns the other 5%.

Steen said he anticipates that work on the Rochester Crossroads development will begin in “late spring or early summer.”

The developer will meet with the planning board in the coming weeks to continue the site plan review and special permit application processes.

The Cannabis Control Commission requires prospective cannabis business applicants to host community outreach meetings before applying for the final operation license. These meetings give companies a chance to provide “vital information about the proposed Marijuana Establishment… and its potential impacts to the neighborhood and community,” according to the commission website.

Megan’s Organic Market Chief Executive Officer Megan Souza and Chief Operating Officer Nicholas Andre joined the Jan. 4 meeting remotely from California. Souza presented the aesthetic and experiential parts of the dispensary’s plan, while Andre led the discussion about security. 

Souza said during the meeting that the dispensary aims to hire as many residents as possible from what she called the “city of Rochester.” She said she will ensure the dispensary hires a Rochester resident as general manager.

The company’s outside legal counsel, Jonathan Silverstein, reviewed the host-community agreement and the financial impacts on the town. Megan’s Organic Market said it will put 1% of gross sales into a community fund that will be overseen by Rochester residents, and the town will receive funds from a 3% sales tax.

Andre said that the remote location of the proposed dispensary is “ideal” for preventing minors from accessing the store. Steen added that the proposed location near I-495 means the dispensary will not cause traffic in town.