Boston, MA – After a majority of Massachusetts’ voters checked “yes” to legalizing marijuana in the November 2016 election, many hoped to see an immediate spark in this new cannabis industry. Bay Staters, however, have spent the past 1.5 years trying to decipher the process through which Massachusetts will roll out dispensary licenses, the regulations that shall be enacted upon both businesses and personal users, and simply when cannabis supporters could roll up safely.
With a quickly upcoming July 1st target date, both supporters and opponents of the cannabis revolution anticipate the changes that will take place in Massachusetts’ economic, political and social systems. Leading up to this date, The Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission, the government office that will regulate the state’s marijuana industry, has received 53 fully-completed applications for review and, hopefully, future widespread approval.
One business had a breakthrough and the recreational marijuana industry has begun in Massachusetts as of June 21st when the Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission officially granted the state’s first reactional marijuana licensure. Sira Naturals, the blessed business from Mildford, was the first to submit an application to the Commission. It is a cultivation facility, which means that their company grows and packages their current 60 strains of cannabis plants and products such as edible desserts and oils. Their facility's hours of operation are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Additionally, the company has medical marijuana dispensaries in Cambridge, Somerville and Needham.
Sira Naturals was approved by the five-member Commission with a unanimous vote for a Tier 3 licensure. This means that their business can grow anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 square feet of marijuana plants inside the facility. They have the right to legally cultivate, process and package marijuana and transfer and deliver products to other licensed marijuana establishments. One thing that their business is not allowed to do, however, is provide marijuana directly to consumers.
This approval may have come to a surprise to some Milford residents, though. Last year, their townies voted to block all recreational marijuana establishments from the region. After Sira and Proverde Laboratories, the science behind the business that tests each cannabis plant, lobbied officials to exempt them from the ban. One requirement for Sira Naturals to be exempted and to hold this license came from a signed contract with said officials, through which the company has to pay a portion of its revenue to the town. Regulated weed and filled potholes? Sounds like a perfect plan to me.
The company is excited to tell of their methods of growing and why they believe they deserved to receive this licensure. One thing that made me happy to hear about their product is that the company does not use pesticides in the growing process, but instead live bugs to counter any pests that may be invasive to the marijuana flower.
The CEO of Sira Naturals, Michael Dundas, comments that while "this is obviously a significant day in the commission's journey thus far, I also want to stress that it's a beginning, not a end ... This is going to become a regular process." Despite this significant moment for Massachusetts' marijuana history and being a few days away from July 1st, he knows that the state is "very far away" from having a fully functioning marijuana industry, as the state has yet to issue a single retail license. Even his own business will take time to expand as he notes that this project will take months, a new crop can take several months to perfect, and even the three Sira Naturals medical dispensaries have yet to submit applications for recreational licenses.
Following is a map of the 53 marijuana license applications that the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission had received as of June 14th. These application packets can be found on the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission's website, Mass-Cannabis-Control.com. The application packets vary in fees depending on various factors, such as but not limited to: license type/Tier referencing the square feet of the business in question, whether it's an indoor or outdoor business, the type of business such as cultivator versus dispenser, and much more.
Lastly, check out these photos from inside the Sira Naturals facility!
CEO Michael Dundas inside one of the facility’s growing room.
Some of their 1g pre-rolled joints, coming in a variety of flavors, strains and purposes.
Some technicians ensuring the safety of the product.