Uxbridge resident and cannabis entrepreneur Kim Gibson agrees. She, her husband Fred and son Joe own Gibby’s Garden, one of four cannabis microbusinesses licensed in the state. Their facility is located right behind Caroline’s Cannabis in a nondescript industrial building.
Kim Gibson said the town contemplated a one-year moratorium soon after cannabis was legalized in Massachusetts.
“Fred jumped out of his chair and went down there to protest,” she said. “But we didn’t really even need to because the townspeople stood up, one after another, and said, ‘Look: New high school. New fire department. New sewer treatment plant. This is an opportunity for us to bring some of that revenue back. We’re doing it.’ And the selectmen backed off and didn’t put any moratorium on it.”
If you look at a map of cannabis businesses in Massachusetts, you’ll see a cluster of them located in Uxbridge. All are close to Route 146, the highway that connects Worcester and Providence, the second- and third-largest cities in New England.
Uxbridge Selectman Stephen Mandile said the town has welcomed the cannabis industry with open arms.
“We’re looking for the right ushers of the product — of the the plant — to to be working with us, and we’ve really lucked out. We have the first woman-owned business here. We also have the first microbusiness license here,” said Mandile, who was elected to the board of selectmen earlier this spring. While he didn’t run on a cannabis platform, people in town knew the disabled Iraq War veteran as a cannabis patient, and advocate.
The cannabis businesses in Uxbridge seem to be filling a void.
Interim Town Manager Pete Hechenbleikner said the town views the cannabis businesses as something of an economic savior.
“We used to have mills coming out our ears and we don’t have those, obviously, so something has to replace that,” said Hechenbleikner.
Other Uxbridge businesses appear to be prospering since the town opened its doors to the cannabis industry. Seth Dudley parked his hot dog trailer outside the local VFW, less than two miles down the road from Caroline’s Cannabis. Many of Caroline’s customers are now his customers as well.
“They’re generally a very happy people,” said Dudley as he worked the grill to serve his lunchtime customers. “If you’ve ever waited in the line down there, it’s like waiting for a ride at Disney World that they all can’t wait to get back on the ride again. All happy people waiting in line. And I see nothing but an increase in traffic here in town.”