Grow, Gift, Repair

Cape Cod craft co-ops coming soon?

Technically called a “craft marijuana cultivator cooperative” license, the six farms would be joined together as a cooperative, in the form of a limited liability company or limited liability partnership, to cultivate, obtain, manufacture, process, package and brand marijuana and marijuana products. The cooperative would deliver crops and products to marijuana establishments but would not be allowed to sell directly to consumers, according to draft state regulations for the new marijuana industry.

The cooperative license option was added to the state’s adult-use marijuana legislation after a push by state Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, and state Rep. Sarah Peake, D-Provincetown. The law, which came on the heels of a ballot initiative approved by voters in 2016, was signed into law on July 28. The license allows groups of small-scale growers to collaborate and share costs to produce “craft marijuana,” which can decrease the influence of the existing black market, produce a high-quality product and protect against corporate interests driven only by the bottom line, according to a statement from Cyr.

The cooperative license is limited to six locations for cultivation and three locations for product manufacture, according to the draft regulations.

“For far-flung corners of the Commonwealth, like the Cape and Islands, or the Berkshires, this amendment provides economic opportunity and dependable year-round jobs,” Cyr said last year when the legislation was signed.

Without the craft grower language, “only the large national companies would profit,” Peake said.

The cooperative license, in particular, is the only cultivation license that allows for multiple cultivation and manufacturing sites, said Peter Bernard of the Massachusetts Growers Advocacy Council. The caveat is that a cooperative cannot own any other sort of license, Bernard said. Like Cyr and Peake, Bernard said he sees the cooperative license as “something that would be very beneficial to the Cape.”

“It will help a lot of struggling farms not convert to condo complexes,” Bernard said.