Permits Sought for Adult-Use Marijuana Growth
Jul 23, 2018 06:00AM
By Marjorie Turner Hollman
Shown L-R: Duncan Cameron, Matt Clark of Bellingham, Meg Collins, and Stephen Spinoza (all but Clark are Good Chemistry staff members)
story & photo by Marjorie Turner Hollman, Contributing Writer
On June 19, Good Chemistry of MA held a “community outreach meeting” at the Bellingham Public Library, as required by the state legislature, to allow for public comment on their petition to grow adult/recreational-use marijuana at their existing facility, in addition to the marijuana they are approved to grow for medical purposes. The audience was mostly made up of Good Chemistry staff, and a very few members of the public and this Bellingham Bulletin writer.
Good Chemistry has three grow facilities and three retail facilities in Colorado and has now opened an approved medical marijuana grow facility in Bellingham, on William Way.
Bellingham Town planner Jim Kupfer attended the meeting and explained that the town meeting vote agreed to allow continued production for the cultivation of marijuana, but against retail sales in town (at this time).
“When this facility was permitted,” Kupfer noted, “we had no regulations on the book regarding this type of business, so the facility was permitted under warehouse and manufacturing regulations. If they expanded their operation, they would be required to file for a special permit with the zoning board.”
He continued, “Good Chemistry is currently applying for the state license to allow the business to utilize the existing cultivation for recreational purposes as well as medicinal. No increase in production had been requested at this time.”
Good Chemistry Vice President of Public Affairs Meg Collins led the meeting, playing a short video that included, among others, company founder Matt Huron, whose grandparents were farmers before settling in Worcester 25 years ago.
Huron noted, “I spent a lot of time with my grandparents when I was growing up, and they really instilled for me a passion for agriculture and the feeling that comes with building and growing something special.”
From the company’s website, www.goodchem.org, they note, “Everything we do at Good Chemistry is guided by four core principles- science, access, dignity, and compassion. We believe that cannabis has significant therapeutic benefits, and we work to support and expand its study. We think that people should have access to safe, reliable, and high-quality cannabis.”
Collins noted, “Because we have good neighbors, we want to be good neighbors.” She specifically pointed to concerns for odor control and explained, “Odor control is a passion for me. I come from a background in the hog industry, where odor control is a huge issue. You want to keep your noxious footprint as small as possible.”
Bellingham resident Matt Clark, who owns the property, noted that his office is directly next door to the facility. “I would never know they were there—it’s quiet, very little truck traffic, just small vans, not big tractor trailers.” Collins made the additional point that with planned growth, there could potentially be 70-plus jobs coming to Bellingham.
She spoke about security steps in place, including backup generators to maintain security even in the event of a power outage. “We have cameras that cover the entire facility, and all recordings are maintained for 45 days. We keep very detailed data, which is important for compliance with regulations but has become a very important factor in tracking the success of our growing efforts. All our growing data is uploaded to the state. We welcome regulations.”
Good Chemistry Chief Production Officer Duncan Cameron pointed out that they received approvals to begin construction in Dec., 2017; their first crop was planted this past April and will take four months to mature. They expect this first crop to be ready for harvest in August, to supply their retail/medical facility scheduled to open in Worcester.
Cameron noted, “The state likes to keep the supply chain consistent—from growing to retail, all through one organization. We have ‘seed to sale’ tracking, to account for every single gram that is grown. We allow no unauthorized visitors.”
“Right now, there are about 22 dispensaries for medical marijuana open in the state. To obtain marijuana for medical use, you must receive a recommendation from a doctor, then obtain a medical card from the Department of Public Health [DPH],” he continued. “Posted on their website are specific conditions that qualify a person for a medical card. After July 1, it will be legal to buy or sell adult-use marijuana in Massachusetts, but few places will be ready to sell by then. We are taking the steps required to have both medical and adult-use marijuana available at our Worcester dispensary.”