Central Mass. draws interest as hub of marijuana business
Michael Dundas, CEO of medical marijuana cultivator and processor Sira Naturals in Milford, was excited when he greeted a reporter and photographer last Tuesday for an interview on the impending rollout of legal adult-use, or recreational, marijuana businesses.
He had just learned that the state Cannabis Control Commission released the agenda for its Thursday meeting. The commission was going to vote on its first license.
“There’s only one business on the agenda, and it’s us,” he said.
Thursday’s historic unanimous vote to grant Sira Naturals a provisional license to cultivate marijuana for the recreational as well as the medical market in its growing facility, tucked in the back of an industrial park in Milford, brought the world of legal marijuana one step closer to reality.
The state law legalizing adult use of marijuana targeted July 1 as the date when licensed retailers could start selling marijuana, but regulators have said those licenses will likely be delayed.
Sira Naturals isn’t selling recreational pot yet. Its medical dispensaries in Cambridge and Somerville have yet to go through local approvals and file applications for adult-use retail sales, and its dispensary in Needham is restricted to medical use only because the town banned recreational marijuana business.
It can’t sell to the public in Milford either, after Milford voted to ban recreational marijuana establishments, with an exception for existing medical marijuana businesses to expand to recreational business in the same category as under their medical registration.
But it was fitting that the state’s first licensed recreational marijuana business, the vanguard of a new multibillion-dollar industry that includes suppliers, processors, manufacturers, testers and transporters as well as retailers, is in Worcester County.
More than a quarter of the 58 complete recreational marijuana license applications under review as of last week by the CCC, or 16, are