A pair of business owners in Massachusetts recently announced plans to transition their strip club into the world’s first topless cannabis dispensary.
According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Nick Spagnola and Julius Sokol, the owners of Club Castaway, informed city officials that they planned to remove the dancing and alcohol, but keep the nudity and add cannabis sales.
“There are a lot of dispensaries open and you need a niche to be successful,” Spagnola reportedly told the Select Board in Whatley, Massachusetts.
According to the Gazette, Club Castaway was only open for a few months before the pandemic shut it down in 2020. The business is set to reopen this spring for the first time since it closed. The club’s adult entertainment and alcohol licenses are still active, according to the newspaper.
But Spagnola and Sokol have agreed to terms to purchase Shine Diamond LLC, a marijuana dispensary permitted to open a few blocks away from the club and the pair plan to file a change of location request to their club. If approved, Spagnola and Sokol plan to amend their adult entertainment license to remove dancing and allow topless service.
Sokol reportedly already owns licenses for dispensaries in eastern Massachusetts.
“We do have some experience on the cannabis side and some on the nudity side,” Spagnola told the Gazette, adding that they were confident they could create a “protocol for a safe working environment.”
The pair also told the board they wanted to replace the nightclub and alcohol scene with something that is “harmless by comparison.”
At least one Select Board member seemed on board with the change, with Juliana Waggoner noting that removing alcohol and dancing could lead to a “mellower” environment.
The change would also need to be approved by the Whatley Zoning Board of Appeals because of a change of use, requiring a special permit.
— Brian Beckley