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Massachusetts Issues First Recreational Marijuana License

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By Jimi Devine

Big moves are happening in Bay State recreational cannabis as Massachusetts’s largest registered marijuana dispensary group, announced it has received approval from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission for a Tier 3 Cultivation License.

The groundbreaking first-in-state license went to Sira Naturals allowing the company to cultivate between 10,000 to 20,000-square-feet of indoor cannabis for adult-use.

“It is an honor to receive the first cultivation license from the Cannabis Control Commission here in Massachusetts,” said Michael Dundas, president and chief executive officer of Sira Naturals. “This historic milestone is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our exceptional team and to the countless cannabis industry stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth whose passion to legalize cannabis made this dream a reality. This is an exciting first step on the path toward making our premium cannabis products available to a wider audience than ever before.”

Sira Naturals has cultivated medical marijuana in Milford, Massachusetts for the past two years. It will be expanding its facilities to meet the demand. With two dispensaries in the heart of metro Boston plus one more in suburbs, there will be plenty.

The rest of the Massachusetts cannabis industry was pleased to see the ball rolling, especially if those amongst the 81 dispensaries and 123 Economic Empowerment Applicants at the front of the line. Last month the state approved the 205 prospective licensees to enter the agency’s application system early and have their license applications processed first. The state is expected to begin recreational cannabis sales next month.

Longtime Massachusetts operator 4Front Advisors founder and current National Cannabis Industry Association board member Kris Krane was one of the folks pleased about the events beginning to unfold.

“It is encouraging to see the Cannabis Control Commission issue the first adult use license in Massachusetts,” Krane told Cannabis Now. “It’s been a long year and a half since the voters approved legalization so it is great to see the CCC moving to hit the July 1 deadline. Hopefully, many more will follow in the days and weeks to come.”

As Krane noted, it’s been a long road to this day in Massachusetts, and it’s no thanks to the powers that be. After leading the losing effort against legalization in 2016 alongside Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has been very hands-on since voters made their decision. He early and often called for delays to the implementation of the law.

“People should crawl before they walk and walk before they run,” Baker told reporters in February. “What I do worry about is creating a situation and a dynamic — given the relatively early stages for the commission generally and for this industry in particular — to get off on the wrong foot straight out of the gate. I do think it is important that this go well from the beginning.”

At the time, State Attorney General Maura Healey concurred with the governor

“It’s important with this new industry that we get it right and that we take the time to get it right, and do it in a way that ensures that this gets off to an effective implementation,” said Healey.

Later in February, the Cannabis Control Commission gave some ground. They voted to push back certain parts of the recreational implementation plan.

Shaleen Title, the member of the commission who suggested the move, said the delay wasn’t ideal, but in the end pushed things forward.

“There was hesitancy and lack of confidence in how the process will play out,” Title told Boston radio station WBUR. “It’s important for our commission to develop relationships where people feel they can trust us… so if the delay allows us to do that without hurting marginalized communities, then I think everybody wins.”

Original Publication in CannabisNow.