Grow, Gift, Repair

Community speaks out in Worcester

There’s no ganja like farm-grown ganja,” said Eric Schwartz, co-founder of Farm Bug Cooperative, a group of farmers applying for a craft marijuana cultivator cooperative license. “I think Massachusetts can be a shining example for the rest of the country in ending the failed marijuana prohibition policy.”

About 100 people gathered at the Worcester Public Library for a public hearing on draft regulations governing the adult use of cannabis in the state. The meeting was hosted by members of the Cannabis Control Commission, and was one of several being held throughout the state to solicit feedback on draft regulations for everything about the cannabis trade, from seed to consumption.

Regulations are expected to be finalized by March 15. Applications for licenses to participate in the adult-use cannabis industry are scheduled to be made available April 1. The sale of adult-use cannabis will begin July 1.

No participants at the hearing spoke against legalization of marijuana; much of the testimony focused on specific tweaks to draft regulations.

But a few major themes emerged.

Several of the speakers – generally those representing established medical cannabis companies – suggested changes to rules governing companies that would be licensed only to deliver marijuana. Such delivery companies wouldn’t have the overhead of brick-and-mortar retail establishments or grow operations, they said, so there was concern that they would offer wholesale prices and undercut store prices.

This could, in turn, reduce tax revenues going to municipalities and the state, speakers testified.

Several speakers at the hearing advocated that the Cannabis Control Commission develop a model community host agreement, because of variations in those agreements across the state.

But much of the testimony focused on how to ensure local small-scale farmers were represented in the industry.

“Be aware of the large corporations coming in that would eliminate small microfarms,” said William St. Croix, who advocated for daylong social consumption licenses for farms to host special events.