State awards first recreational marijuana license

July 02–A Leicester-based pot purveyor skippered by a 25-year-old whiz kid today became the first startup in Massachusetts awarded a provisional license to sell adult-use recreational marijuana.

Sam Barber, president of Cultivate Holdings, said he’s hoping for a September grand opening on the town’s Main Street to begin selling weed-laced edibles and potions seven days a week, but with no independent lab yet online to even test his products, he’s willing to jump through a few more hoops to seal the deal with the Cannabis Control Commission.

“There’s a few more details the CCC is working on, ironing out, but I feel like we are getting a lot closer,” Barber said after the five-member commission voted unanimously to grant Cultivate a provisional license for its shop.

Cultivate is already a registered medical marijuana dispensary, requiring a state-issued card to gain entry. Becoming a recreational retailer will swing the doors wide open.

“I feel good about it. I’d rather have the program done in the right way and everyone feels comfortable with it. Our team has a tremendous amount of work getting ready for this big influx and we’re excited for it.,” Barber said. “We have to get all our product re-tested. We want to make sure our product is always safe and properly dosed for every patient and customer coming in.

“This is one of the most rigorous states to get through this licensing process, but I think it’s for the right thing,” he said. “It’s to be able to get the community comfortable that it’s going to be done in the right and safe way for anyone purchasing these products and the effect that it’s going to have on the community.

“We’re lucky,” he added. “We have everything at our facility. We grow, we process, we have our kitchen there … In terms of having the ability to do it, we’re ready to go. Being the first, I think we’re doing all right.”

To meet initial demand, Barber said Cultivate will be sourcing marijuana from “anyone that has product available,” but the business has a cultivation license application pending before the board, “and we’re expanding our grow, as well, hoping to double our production in the next few months … I think we’ll have a great product offering.”

The CCC currently has 19 retail applicants under review. Only three research facilities have expressed an interest in handling the mandated testing of marijuana product, but none have yet submitted all the materials necessary to even be considered.

Still, a beaming CCC chairman Steven J. Hoffman declared today’s vote a “milestone” for the Bay State.

The board also voted unanimously to grant the state’s first provisional product manufacturing license to SIRA Naturals of Milford toward the goal of pumping out high-inducing brownies, cookies, gummy chews, oils and lotions.

SIRA also has a medical marijuana license.

Before the board can issue Cultivate a final license, Hoffman said everyone associated with the operation must be willing to submit to having their fingerprints run through a national database and their facility inspected, among other conditions.

“Of course it’s a milestone, but every day is a milestone because everything we’re doing, we’re making this work,” Hoffman said. “It’s going to work for the state, work for its citizens, and work for public health and public safety. We’re making progress. So yes, I think it’s a big day, but one of many big days, and we have a lot more big days ahead of us. No rest for the weary.”

Hoffman would not comment on Barber’s aggressive timeline for opening, remarking instead that there are conditions Cultivate needs to meet first and it’s up to them to act swiftly.

“The timetable is really at his control,” Hoffman said.

Before the next vote, commissioner Britte McBride said she wants to see photographs of Cultivate’s treats, “if not actual products.

“I’m going to want to make sure that our legal packaging requirements are being met and doing what they’re intended to do,” she said.

Shawn Collins, CCC’s executive director, said Cultivate has vowed to donate 10 percent of its net profits to local charities in the Worcester County town of 11,000 residents in addition to sponsoring fundraisers if it earns its final license.

This article provided by NewsEdge.