This week, Massachusetts experienced its first recreational marijuana milestone since legalizing the plant in November 2016. The five-member Cannabis Control Commission, who are responsible for overseeing recreational marijuana in the state, have unanimously voted to grant their first cultivation license to Sira Naturals, who currently grow 10,000 square feet of medical marijuana at their facility in Milford. Sira Naturals, the first company to receive a recreational marijuana business license on the U.S. eastern seaboard, will now move forward with plans to grow 20,000 square feet of recreational marijuana at their facility. This grow space is estimated to be fully operational within four months.
How Sira Naturals Earned Their Growers License
In order to be approved by the commission, Sira Naturals had to show a detailed security plan, record keeping processes and illustrate how the inventory would be managed along with quality control procedures. Their facility will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The company are ensuring that all medical marijuana demands are fulfilled first but have expressed that excess medical marijuana product can be directed towards the recreational marijuana market. Once the commission has physically inspected the Milford facility to ensure that it is ready, Sira Naturals will receive the final license.
According to Mass Live, Sira Naturals CEO Michael Dundas issued a statement, proclaiming, “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. This is an exciting first step on the path toward making our premium cannabis products available to a wider audience than ever before.”
Still No Retail Licenses Issued
Sira Naturals own medical marijuana dispensaries in Somerville, Cambridge and Needham. The commission has yet to begin processing retail marijuana licenses so it is unclear whether or not Sira Naturals will be applying to sell recreational marijuana at their dispensary locations. Companies seeking retail licenses will also have to apply on a local level through the city or town in which they wish to operate. They have, however, applied for research and transportation licenses. The commission has yet to vote on distribution of those licenses. For now, Sira Naturals are the first recipient of a recreational marijuana license of any kind in the state.
The Current State of U.S. Marijuana
Massachusetts is one of eight states, along with the District of Columbia, that have legalized recreational marijuana for adults over 21. Colorado and Washington were the first to legalize the plant in 2012. Oregon and Alaska followed suit in 2014. In 2016, four states ended prohibition, including California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts. Vermont become the first state to legalize recreational marijuana through a legislation process in January 2018. This means that, as it stands, more than 20 percent of the country has voted to end prohibition. According to the most recent Pew Polls, the majority of Americans support marijuana reform with over 60 percent of the country in favor of legalizing the plant for adult use.