What's next for cannabis in Massachusetts?
Shawn Cooney, cofounder of Corner Stalk Farm, grows lettuce and other produce inside recycled shipping containers.
The indoor growing is beneficial because it allows Corner Stalk to grow year-round. But farming is still a tough business with tight profit margins, so Cooney is looking to add a new crop — cannabis.
“We decided the best way for us to ensure our sustainability was to add cannabis as one of our crops,” Cooney said.
The East Boston farmer is one of hundreds in the Massachusetts business community champing at the bit to capitalize on the much-anticipated, adult-use marijuana market.
The excitement is fueled by marijuana business consultants, who estimate the cannabis industry could ultimately reach $1.8 billion in Massachusetts.
How long it takes to achieve such value, however, isn’t clear, as the nascent industry continues to stand itself up. Nonetheless, it’s likely many marijuana-related startups will open and shutter along the way, according to Rob Hunt, founder of Shingle Hill, a cannabis consultancy group based in California.
“There are going to be a lot of people who make a ton of money in this industry, but that’s going to be very unlikely for the vast majority of people,” Hunt said. “I’m a huge advocate, but I think there are cautionary tales.”
On June 20, Hunt and Cooney spoke in Boston at the Massachusetts’ Expanding Cannabis Economy forum, hosted by the State House News Service and the Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association, a recently formed trade group.
Hunt’s cautionary tale is known as “overproduction,” an economic dynamic playing out in other states where adult-use marijuana, also known as recreational marijuana, is legal.
When marijuana- and other cannabis-related products become available to the general public, demand soars and business booms, he explained. The early success of sellers, growers and manufacturers, paired with an overall