New Bedford’s first retail cannabis business has cleared its final stage for approval and should soon begin remodeling its planned Coggeshall Street location to prepare for opening later this year.

Southcoast Apothecary, LLC, which will operate its retail location as Ascend New Bedford, received approval from the New Bedford Planning Board on Wednesday night for its plan to open a dispensary at 115 Coggeshall Street.

Ascend will repurpose the historic building – formerly the office of Fairhaven Mills – into a 5,000-square foot adult-use retail cannabis facility.

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“We are very pleased to have been approved for our Special Permit and especially proud to be the first cannabis company sited in New Bedford to be granted one,” Andrea Cabral, CEO of Southcoast Apothecary, said in a statement to WBSM News.

Cabral is an East Providence native who served 11 years as sheriff of Suffolk County and also served as Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety.

“We are fortunate to have established a great working relationship with a City whose approach and diligence on behalf of all of its residents has been so thoughtful,” Cabral said. “We especially want to thank Councilors (Ian) Abreu, (Maria) Giesta, and (Scott) Lima for their public support of the project and look forward to providing a best-in-class retail experience for all of our customers.”

Abreu, who is the chair of the New Bedford City Council’s Committee on Cannabis Regulation and Host Community Agreement Review, has seen firsthand how Ascend navigated the process of securing a Host Community Agreement and all the necessary approvals to be able to finally break ground.

“The professionals at Ascend and Southcoast Apothecary have presented the City of New Bedford with a solid plan for safe and equitable access for recreational cannabis for adults of legal age,” Abreu said. “This group has made a strong commitment towards supporting our community through good-paying jobs, procurement of locally-produced goods and services when necessary, and youth-sponsored programming. I commend their willingness to invest in New Bedford, and I wish them many years of success.”

Ascend is targeting the fourth quarter of 2021 for an opening date but says all timelines are subject to possible construction delays, the Cannabis Control Commisson’s scheduling of various inspections, and Commission votes.

New Bedford will join Fall River, Wareham and Fairhaven as communities on the SouthCoast to welcome the business – and tax revenue – of retail cannabis.

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