Massachusetts Awards First Recreational Cannabis Business License
Sira Naturals of Milford, MA can finally plant adult-use pot. But even with the retail sales start date approaching quick, the Bay State still has zero licensed dispensaries.
Published on June 22, 2018

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) issued its first recreational marijuana business license, granting Sira Naturals of Milford the privilege of growing the Bay State's first legal crops in the nascent adult-use market.

According to concurrent reports from Mass Live and WWLP News, the CCC met Thursday to vote on the inaugural license, leading to unanimous approval of Sira Naturals' proposed 20,000-square-foot indoor cultivation center. Sira Naturals, an established Massachusetts medical marijuana producer, has also applied for permits to research and transport legal weed, but has not been approved for either of those distinct licenses.

It's been nearly two years since Bay State voters legalized recreational cannabis, but this week's licensing update signals the true start of legal weed on the East Coast. Sira Naturals is now responsible for growing the first commercial ganja plants east of Colorado.

"This historic milestone is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our exceptional team and to the countless cannabis industry stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth whose passion to legalize cannabis made this dream a reality," Sira Naturals CEO Michael Dundas said in a statement. "This is an exciting first step on the path toward making our premium cannabis products available to a wider audience than ever before."

Because Sira Naturals already operates 10,000-square-feet of state-approved medical marijuana cultivation space in the same facility as its impending recreational grow, the company will be able to transfer product from their medical backstock into the adult-use market. But while Sira is uniquely positioned to meet the state's ideal July 1st recreational sales start date, a dearth of licensed dispensaries will make that goal practically impossible.

As of press time on Friday, Sira Naturals remains the only licensed adult-use weed business in Massachusetts, with no other companies legally able to distribute or sell Sira's marijuana. CCC officials say that they will continue to issue new licenses at subsequent weekly meetings, but with the agency's proposed sales start just one week away, it is looking unlikely that Bay State pot shops will be ready to service recreational customers on July 1st. Still, CCC regulators remain confident in their ability to quickly license qualified applicants now that the dam has been broken.

"It's the beginning, not the end," CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman told WWLP. "This is the first license we're taking up for deliberation, but we expect as we go forward over the next few weeks and months that every meeting will have a few additional ones ... this is going to become a regular process."

If the Commission does license one or more medical dispensary before the end of the month, it is still possible that some adult-use cannabis sales could be made on July 1st. But even in that best-case scenario, the initial market will still be extremely limited.

Sira Naturals CEO Michael Dundas said that the company will begin planting a variety of strains for the adult-use market as soon as all of the i's are dotted and t's are crossed, with plans to have the entire cultivation facility operating 24/7 within the next four months.

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Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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