Though there are many barriers to entry in the Massachusetts cannabis industry, a select few companies have reached the limits of licensing caps set by state regulations. To get a clear picture of Massachusetts’ cannabis industry, Grown In collected cannabis license records and applications from across the state, and then created a database of licenses for analysis.
Grown In’s analysis found that six companies that have maxed out licence caps, including cultivator Caregiver-Patient Connection and retailers Alternative Therapies Group, Curaleaf Massachusetts, Garden Remedies, I.N.S.A., Patriot Care Corp, and Temescal Wellness.
Massachusetts regulations set limits on the number of licenses a person or entity can hold. No medical treatment center, cultivator, product manufacturer, retailer, transporter, or independent testing laboratory can have more than three licenses in each category. Those restrictions are set in state statute.
“Regulators should not impose arbitrary caps on the number of licenses available for qualified commercial producers, manufacturers, or dispensing facilities,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML. “In order to provide for inclusiveness within the legal industry, regulators should strive to impose nominal to low application fees in order to encourage participation from formerly disenfranchised populations and smaller-sized boutique and craft businesses.”
Cultivator Caregiver-Patient Connection applied for licenses as a disadvantaged, woman-owned business with priority status because it is a registered marijuana dispensary, as noted in an application. Catherine Triflo, the only female owner, owns 16.25% of the company and controls 25%. She and co-owner Dean Iandoli each provided $340,000 of capital, and James and Joyce Iandoli, who do not have direct authority, each contributed $125,000, according to state application records.
Publicly-traded Curaleaf has three medical retail licenses, three adult use retail licenses, two medical treatment centers, two medical cultivation licenses, and one adult use cultivation license. Most adult-use and medical licenses are co-located. The company has the most retail locations of any cannabis company, with stores in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Maine, and thirteen other states.
Garden Remedies is owned by Karen Munkacy and Jeffrey Herold. It is not listed as a woman-owned business in state records, despite Munkacy holding 51% of control and 24% of ownership. Ten percent of its initial capital – $303,6000 – came from California-based RMC Holdings, LLC, according to an application.
I.N.S.A. also has a licensed medical marijuana cultivation and processing facility in Pennsylvania.
Patriot Care Corp.’s license ownership is listed under multistate operator Columbia Care’s CEO Nicholas Vita and Executive Chairman Michael Abbott. Columbia Care has facilities in Illinois, Arizona, New Jersey, and Delaware, according to its website.
Temescal Wellness, which has three medical treatment center licenses, the maximum, which are required to be vertically-integrated facilities – including cultivation, processing, and dispensaries. The company has the maximum licenses for retail, three for both medical and adult-use. It also owns one medical and one adult-use cultivation license.
Temescal Wellness is owned by Ted Rebholz, who before entering the cannabis industry was a founding chief financial officer at both Beyond Meat and Whiptail Technologies.
Rebholz holds two vertically-integrated licenses in New Hampshire and three medical cannabis licenses in Maryland, according to an application.
Shaleen Title, former Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commissioner and co-founder of the drug policy think tank Parabola Center, said ownership and control limits are, “the only reason that small and disadvantaged businesses still have a chance to succeed in Massachusetts.”
“Those limits prevent any one actor from dominating the market and leaves room for others to utilize the many benefits and programs that the state offers for small businesses and to grow and thrive,” Title said. “[Massachusetts] has led the way on ownership and control limitations (meaning limiting how much of the market one actor can own or control) and our state provides important models for federal legalization measures that can minimize the risk of a national monopoly.”
For clarity, "ownership and control limits" is different from "cap on licenses," which might suggest a cap on the total number of licenses in a city or state, Title noted.
“Right now most of the market is still underground in this state, and we're at a crossroads as to whether the legal market will ultimately end up in line with what voters wanted,” Title said.
The process of getting a license in Massachusetts includes application fees of up to $2,000 and annual licensing fees up to $50,000 – for a 100,000-square foot cultivation facility, as an example. There are also non-refundable fees for changes to the company’s name, location, building structure, and ownership of persons or entities, ranging from $500 to $10,000, according to guidance from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.
Economic empowerment applicants and social equity program participants can receive waivers for application fees, monthly program fees, and an annual 50% reduction in license fees.
Ed. Note: A previous version of map that accompanied this article mapped both medical and adult-use licenses. We have removed the medical licenses because the state has not provided street addresses, while we have obtained specific addresses for adult-use licenses.