Massachusetts Archives - Green Market Report

Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtDecember 6, 2018
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3min4370
Ascend has plans to become the leading cannabis operator in the Massachusetts, Michigan and Illinois markets and it just got a big jump on the effort. This vertically-integrated cannabis operator completed its latest equity fundraising round.
Ascend raised $40M with the completion of this round and is developing licenses in three major cannabis states that are just beginning to build their markets: Massachusetts, Michigan, and Illinois. Combined, they create the largest market east of the Mississippi, which is equivalent in size to California or Canada, two of the most profitable Cannabis regions in the world.
The company’s chief executive officer Andrea Cabral started her career in Massachusetts law enforcement before getting appointed as the state’s top public safety official in 2012. As the leader of the company, she is sensitive to hiring people with minor arrest records in a demonstration of the company’s commitment to social justice.
“We are thrilled to be investors in Ascend, and to see such a warm reception to the dispensary locations under approval,” says Emily Paxhia, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Poseidon Asset Management. “Ascend’s focus on a customer-centric retail environment will help to demystify the cannabis experience and create a new paradigm of cannabis retail.”
Ascend Wellness said it currently has plans for three high-end, licensed adult-use cannabis retail locations in three metro-area Boston locations. Additionally, the company said it plans to develop a significant retail presence throughout these emerging markets as it solidifies itself as a leading U.S. Cannabis operator.
“We are delighted to announce our initial round of funding,” says Abner Kurtin, founder of Ascend. “With a potential 30 million cannabis consumers in these three strategic markets, Ascend is poised to be one of the largest operators in the country. With our plans for best-in-class retail experiences and the development of global brands and partnerships, we could not be more excited for the future of Ascend.”
Leading this funding round are Poseidon Asset Management, Salveo Capital, JM10 Partners, and Shire Capital Advisors. Proceeds from the capital raised will be used to build out locations in these markets and acquire future assets.

Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtNovember 20, 2018
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4min1941

Adult-use cannabis sales began in Massachusetts on Tuesday morning making it the seventh state to legalize and establish an adult-use market. Two dispensaries are set to open at 8 am to service customers.

Cultivate Holdings, LLC, which has a retail shop in Leicester and New England Treatment Access (NETA) LLC in Northampton were given approval by The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. Adults 21 and older with a valid ID will be able to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana from licensed marijuana retail stores, of which no more than five grams can be in concentrate form. It will remain illegal to consume marijuana in public.

“Marijuana prohibition is officially coming to an end in the Bay State,” said Marijuana Policy Project Deputy Director Matthew Schweich, who oversaw the successful Question 4 campaign in 2016. “It will not be missed. Voters in Massachusetts wanted a more sensible policy, new tax revenue, and safer communities, and that is what they are going to get.

The Boston Globe reported that the first customer at Cultivate will be Iraq veteran and medical marijuana advocate Stephen Mandile. He will buy a quarter-ounce of pot and edibles once Cultivate opens at 8 a.m. Over at NETA, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz — an Air Force veteran — will purchase an edible.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, marijuana possession has been legal for adults 21 and older since Question 4 took effect on December 15, 2016. The initiative was approved by 53.7 percent of voters on November 8, 2016, and legislation to implement the initiative was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker on July 28, 2017.

“Finally, adults will be able to purchase marijuana safely and legally in regulated, taxpaying businesses instead of resorting to the underground market,” Schweich said. “Adults will simply stop at a licensed store, show their ID, pay, and be on their way. It won’t be long before the novelty wears off and it feels just like buying alcohol from a liquor store.”

MPP noted that regulated adult sales began in Colorado in January 2014; Washington in July 2014; Oregon in October 2015; Alaska in October 2016; Nevada in July 2017; and California in January 2018. In Maine, they are expected to begin in fall 2019. In Michigan, where the law was just adopted during the midterm election earlier this month, adult sales are expected to begin in 2020.

“Implementation took longer than expected, but the system is now up and running, and it appears to be on the right track,” Schweich said. “We applaud the many state and local officials who have taken part in the historic transition from prohibition to a regulated model. This is a living system that will grow and evolve over time, similarly to what we’ve seen with alcohol, and it can set an example for other states in the region and around the country. Massachusetts is firmly ahead of the curve on cannabis.”

Marijuana products sold for adult use will be subject to a 6.25 percent state sales tax and a 10.75 percent state excise tax, and municipal officials have the option of levying additional local taxes of up to 3 percent. A study released in June by the Department of Public Health estimated adult marijuana sales would generate more than $200 million for the state and up to $3 million for local governments in the first two years alone.



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