Grow, Gift, Repair


Selectboard member Marguerite Willis wanted to know if the operation would generate any additional town revenue. She was told that the building of the greenhouses might increase personal property value. She also said the town would have to keep track of any increased need for town services, such as extra police calls, that might result from the growing of marijuana. Under state law, towns are allowed to charge “impact fees” of up to 3 percent of marijuana-generated revenues for added town services.

When asked if any odors would be a problem, Marcia Tucci said the greenhouses will have carbon filters. She said any smell from the greenhouses, surrounded by 100 acres of field and forest, was unlikely.

When Janice Boudreau​ expressed concerns about security, Marcia Tucci suggested they go to the Planning Board, which is crafting a zoning bylaw.

The Tuccis are still a long way from building a greenhouse. The outreach meeting was their first step. Farm Bug Co-op still needs a state cultivator license, and the town and Farm Bug are still working on a Community Host Agreement, which states the terms under which one of Farm Bug’s members can cultivate.

Robert Dolan III said he thought residents should be able to vote on any Community Host Agreement, and asked for contact information for Farm Bug’s lawyer.

Farm Bug, founded by Eric Schwartz of Somerville, is a cooperative of farms that want to cultivate marijuana in accordance with the state’s new marijuana laws. It is a limited liability corporation to sell marijuana to licensed retailers — but not directly to consumers.

Schwartz believes marijuana could become a billion-dollar industry in Massachusetts.

“The cannabis industry is very much dominated by large-money businesses,” Schwartz said. “I want local folks to benefit.”

“This is the first (marijuana cultivation) co-op in the United States,” he said. “We’re making history.”

If granted a license, the Farm Bug Co-op could produce organic marijuana on up to 100,000 square feet or indoor or outdoor space, for both medical and adult recreational use. Farm Bug currently has about nine interested farms, with smaller cultivation sites throughout the state. Four of these farms are in Franklin County. They include two farms in Buckland, the Tucci farm in Charlemont, and a potential cultivator in Greenfield.