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Worcester County reigns supreme

Five Worcester County communities appear in a relatively substantial number of marijuana establishment license applications filed with the state Cannabis Control Commission so far, giving a look at potential economic drivers for parts of the region.

Seventy-seven license applications have been filed with the CCC for marijuana businesses in Worcester County, as of March 7. That’s more than twice the number in the next highest counties, Berkshire County with 34 and Middlesex County with 30.

Even among retail license applications, which tend to be near population centers, Worcester County has 22 filings, compared to 16 in Berkshire County and 13 in Essex County.

A business may have up to three licenses for each category, such as retailer, cultivation facility or manufacturer, among others. Not all license applicants are open for business yet, but the list identifies those that have made the significant investment to apply.

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What parents should know about legal marijuana

As part of the application, marijuana businesses are required to sign host community agreements with the municipality in which they plan to locate.

Some communities voted to ban adult-use, or recreational marijuana, or prohibit retail marijuana stores from opening.

“There are others that are really gung ho about having it because they see a lot of economic opportunity,” said Phillip Silverman, a lawyer with the marijuana law firm, Vicente Sederberg in Boston. Particularly for cultivators, processors and testing labs, he said, “They see it as any other business.”