O, Cannabis! Craft marijuana co-ops in the Valley?
Photo by Eric Schwartz. A row of jars holding different strains of dried cannabis from Farm Bug Co-op.
Photo from Eric Schwartz. A cannabis plant grown on a farm that might be part of the Farm Bug Co-op at a NOFA Mass workshop in December.
The Pioneer Valley has a rich agricultural history and is home to many famous products, including “Hadley grass” (asparagus grown in Hadley) and enough tobacco in the 1800s for the region to be known as the “tobacco valley.” The Valley now has the opportunity to take advantage of growing a different kind of grass: cannabis.
Will cannabis be the next craft product making a name for itself as a high-quality, Valley-grown product?
Local growers and cannabis activists are teaming up under the umbrella of “craft marijuana cooperatives,” which is a licensing category included in the final set of regulations that were voted on by the Cannabis Control Coalition (CCC), to ensure that it is.
“I really fell in love with the co-op idea because of the notion of creativity,” said Eric Schwartz.
Schwartz is a Somerville-based digital marketer and co-founder of Farm Bug Co-op, a cultivator cooperative that could have members growing cannabis all over the state, including in Western Mass, once it obtains a license.
“If someone’s working on their own land, it gives someone the independence to be creative, to really own their own part and create their own craft.”
Schwartz plans on using his marketing skills and