Kamani Jefferson, a Statehouse lobbyist and president of the Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council, said policies at the city and town level are a big contributor to the slower- than-expected move to open retail marijuana facilities.
“It’s really a local level issue, rather than a state issue,” he said.
Even communities that voted in favor of recreational marijuana in 2016 need to establish local zoning and other laws. From community to community, the status of these local policies are all over the map, he said.
Fitchburg and Ashby passed these local ordinances within the last couple months, while officials in Billerica, which has a moratorium in place until the end of this year, are just now entering conversations.
The uncertainty surrounding recreational marijuana hasn’t stopped Revolutionary Clinics from investing.
The company, with one dispensary currently open in Somerville, is looking to expand into recreational marijuana. Its cultivation facility is located in a 16,000-square-foot space on the first floor of a building in Fitchburg.
They’ve applied to expand into the second, third and fourth floor of the building, with an eventual expansion into a neighboring building to bring its total grow space up to the 100,000-square-foot maximum allowed by the state.
“We will likely be the largest grower in Massachusetts,” said Schneider, the company’s chief marketing officer.
Revolutionary Clinics is still waiting on a community host agreement with Fitchburg — part of the materials required in the state application — to apply for a recreational marijuana permit, according to Schneider.
He cites both medical and recreational marijuana as the reason for the investment.
“We are in this business and we need to grow marijuana,” he said.