We talked to: NETA

We had a wonderful interview with Leslie Tarr Laurie, Regional Director of NETA in Northampton last week. We love having NETA as part of our business community.

How long has NETA been open and how long have you been the Regional Director of the Northampton location?

This location has been open for nearly 4 years, and we will celebrate the Medical Use anniversary on September 23rd. The 1st anniversary for Adult Use will be on November 20th.

What made you decide to come on board as Regional Director?

This location was the first east of the Mississippi to offer adult use cannabis products, which is why we received so much attention in the news. I have been part of NETA since the beginning, after my career as the founder and CEO of Tapestry Health for 40 years. Because both Tapestry and NETA are proud pioneers in public health, becoming the regional director of NETA just felt right to me. We really needed marijuana as an entity in this area, and from the beginning, NETA has just been fantastic when it comes to prioritizing medical patients first and foremost. I came on board at least a year before they actually opened, and had the opportunity to contribute to how it was designed and renovated, so I feel an even deeper connection to this location. We relied upon local businesses to help us create this location, from CONSTRUCT for renovations to Pedal People for our trash and recycling removal. There has been such a wonderful sense of community cooperation and support.

What do you love most about the local business community?

I’ve been a member of the Chamber for years, and have a strong connection with business owners and a strong interest in seeing Northampton thrive. I love that I can still have my needs met by small, local shops, whether I’m simply stocking up on lightbulbs or I’m looking for a new vehicle. There’s a personal touch you experience when you’ve been working, dining, and shopping in Northampton for years--people get to know you and will recommend things they know you will like. Though I live in Pelham, so much of my time is spent here in Northampton. I shop for special gifts here, celebrate with family and friends at restaurants here, and have appointments here. I value the progressive nature of the people and businesses here, and the sense that we are all part of a strong, supportive community.

What do you love/appreciate most about Northampton in general?

I love that it is a walkable city, and that is comprised of mostly locally-owned places. I also just love the people who inhabit this city. I appreciate the fact that I can enjoy a delicious meal, savor a lovely glass of wine, and see a great exhibit, all downtown. I also love that it’s accessible--by train, car, or bus--to many other cities, including Boston, NYC, and Portland.

What positive changes do you see happening here?

It feels like there’s a new generation with a new sense of energy emerging--there seems to be a continued commitment to the city’s evolution and vitality. I am so glad that NETA is a part of this, as they are open to innovation and progress,  and I feel very positive about my own role in this forward movement and am glad I get to partner with a place like this.

Are there any upcoming events you are excited about?

Some of my favorite regular events/happenings are the Tuesday Market, the changing of the seasons, and the return of the students to the colleges. There’s a shift in the energy that happens that I look forward to every year. We will also be celebrating our 4th anniversary in September, so that’s a significant milestone. I also love that NETA is able to have ongoing donation opportunities in this location. For example, we are currently partnering with New Eyes, and if you donate old eyeglasses, you can receive a discount as a medical patient. We will also be running a toiletry drive to benefit the Survival Center later this month. And we’re very much looking forward to possibly partnering with HighBrow once they open, as they would like to hold a “cannabis-forward” dinner event.

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