US (MA): Craft cannabis cooperatives struggle to start up

As Massachusetts was creating its legal cannabis industry, farmers lobbied for the creation of craft cooperatives — a business model that lets local farmers band together to each grow cannabis and split the costs for things like production, packaging and marketing.

In response, the Cannabis Control Commission established regulations allowing growers who have lived in Massachusetts for at least a year to join together, grow up to 100,000 square feet of cannabis plants among them, pay lower licensing fees and sell wholesale to cannabis retailers.

But so far, the Cannabis Control Commission has not licensed a single craft cooperative. As of July 18, only two cooperatives had submitted their complete applications, according to commission data: Canman in Milford and Roaring Glen Farms in Conway.

Interviews with growers and entrepreneurs involved with one fledgling cooperative, Farm Bug Co-op, shed some light on the challenges facing these organizations. While some of the challenges are unique to Farm Bug and no two businesses are alike, some are also likely to be the same problems facing other cooperatives.

“A craft co-op has a lot of regulatory items you have to check the box on,” said Eric Schwartz, co-founder of Farm Bug Co-op.

Read more at masslive.com


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