Why we need craft cooperative cannabis growing
Craft cooperative growing is a concept brought to our cannabis laws in order to help small businesses and farmers have their rightful place in the industry here in the Commonwealth. The Massachusetts Grower Advocacy Council believes this is the future of cannabis, and that cooperative grows hold the potential to developing a strong and healthy industry in this state.
First, let’s draw our attention to a section of the law that defines such an operations as a “‘craft marijuana cultivator cooperative,’ a marijuana cultivator comprised of residents of the commonwealth organized as a limited liability company or limited liability partnership under the laws of the commonwealth, or an appropriate business structure as determined by the [state’s Cannabis Control Commission]…”
Massachusetts already has an agricultural definition of a cooperative farm scenario. But that last little segment about the CCC forming something else—“or an appropriate business structure as determined by the commission”—gives them the opportunity to create several license types that would significantly foster a cottage industry here. There are more possibilities than some may have considered.
So, why is it so important to promote the growth of craft cooperatives? We can start with those communities that have most been disparaged by the failed war on drugs. These growers need a pathway to legitimacy, and craft cooperatives offer an excellent opportunity to pool resources and go legit. There are also hosts of others who have worked the underground for years, kept their noses clean, and have been waiting for the day when they could operate freely and legally. But the average Joe can’t entertain the costs associated with opening a registered medical marijuana dispensary (RMD) in Mass.
These kinds of limited grows are expected to be less expensive to get into. Whether we like it or not, the medical marijuana system in this state is pay to play. That needs to be different with adult use. You have to have an awful lot of money to open a RMD. If we apply the same stringent conditions on adult use small craft grows, there will be no small craft grows. There will be little if any boutique high-end establishments. We will have nothing much aside from commercially produced cannabis. If that happens, the black market will continue to flourish.
Lots of cannabis aficionados consider commercially grown cannabis as “WalMart Weed” and want something better. Small craft grows are where innovation comes from. It is where new products and strains are created by inventive individuals. They put a lot of care into what they do, so that they can produce the best, and safest possible product.
Small growers like these are also part of the reason there is a market to begin with. They, and thousands of others, have scoffed a nonsensical law and have otherwise steered clear of legal trouble.
These people deserve a seat at the table without having to hit the lottery or have a rich uncle kick the bucket in order to afford to participate in the industry. There are plenty of medical patients, I assure you, who have great access to dispensaries but still seek better quality cannabis in the underground market. Craft cooperative grows will help to end that.
Commercialization is going to happen here. It already has. Big money is going to come to Massachusetts and set up commercial grows. It is already has. Is there going to be room for smaller operations to flourish? Yes, if craft cultivation licenses are rolled out effectively. Craft grows can exist just fine alongside commercial grows. We need to be sure to keep the playing field level.