Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts to open in Plymouth in January
By: Emily Clark on October 20, 2017
PLYMOUTH – You can’t get into the building without a medical marijuana registration card, and you can’t get into the property without checking in at the gatehouse outside the building.
Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts is the multi-million dollar medical marijuana growing facility and dispensary at 9 Collins Ave., in the Plymouth Industrial Park, which is finally becoming a reality. The facility’s carefully structured pick-up process ensures that in-coming patients siphon through the building and back to their cars with no loitering around. You won’t be able to buy edible marijuana-infused products like baked goods, candy or soda here, but a number of cannabis varieties will be sold in a myriad of different forms, from oils to vaping, to the buds themselves.
Sixty security cameras, TV monitors, rules about how much product can be procured at any time and a whole host of precautionary measures have created a safe haven for those in need of medical marijuana, MMM Chief Operating Officer Kevin O’Reilly said.
MMM is set to open and begin dispensing medical marijuana at its Plymouth and Mashpee dispensaries in January. And after undergoing four years of an approval process, fraught with stops and starts, the rules are about to change yet again. Massachusetts voters approved legalizing recreational cannabis with a 54 percent majority just last year, and MMM is hoping to sell recreational marijuana as well as medical marijuana at the Collins Avenue site, when these stores come online in July of 2018, if the town approves that plan. The tight security ought to give patients and customers an added sense of, well, security, O’Reilly said.
What troubles O’Reilly is the looming Town Meeting, Oct. 21, when local legislators will consider at least two competing proposals that argue for siting recreational marijuana stores in differently zoned sections of town, and propose regulations. One of the proposals, if approved, would restrict recreational stores from being sited within 4,000 feet of a dispensary, thereby cutting MMM out of the market. That doesn’t make any sense, O’Reilly said, because MMM’s dispensary has such security, protecting customers, patients and workers much more than a store would.
“We have two concerns with the petitioned articles,” O’Reilly said. “The petitioned article 39 would permit a recreational dispensary to locate in the village centers, unlike the article promoted by the Planning Board, which requires marijuana establishments to locate in the industrial areas and addresses concerns that the town had with respect to security and safety when it directed MMM to locate in the Plymouth Industrial Park. Also, the petitioned article requirement to separate medical and recreational dispensaries by 4,000 feet means that no recreational dispensary could locate in the Plymouth Industrial Park, which would force the location of them into more residential areas.”
Security has become a big deal in this industry, as states like Colorado that have legalized marijuana grapple with high-stakes crime, spiking hospital visits, and a corresponding need for more law enforcement and health care. Marijuana is classified as an illegal substance at the federal level regardless of whether a state rules it legal, and banks insured through the federal government’s FDIC have shied away from handling marijuana businesses of any kind. MMM will work with Century Bank, but, like other medical marijuana facilities, the business will remain cash and debit card only – a feature that can and has attracted criminals. Medical marijuana is not covered by insurance, MMM General Counsel Lianne Ankner explained.
MMM’s facility seems prepared for both types of sales, medical and recreational. Plant varieties are already budding and will be processed right here, where a team of experts guides the work with calibrated precision. Cuttings from mother plant varieties are grown in hydroponics as well as soil, infused with nutrients, as well as with LED lighting that mimics circadian rhythms. A labyrinth of spotless hallways give way to laboratories that segregate plants for cutting, growing, flowering and processing, while security rooms nestled behind equally nondescript doors broadcast TV monitors that eye the grounds and perimeter, which boasts a security fence.
The marijuana will be sold at or above street level to prevent resale of the product. And while the state allows patients up to 10 ounces per 60 days, MMM restricts patients to purchasing no more than one ounce per visit.
Marijuana use has been credited with helping patients suffering from movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease, seizures, Crohn’s disease, nausea, pain and many others, MMM marijuana cultivator “Keith T.” said. The stigma of marijuana use needs to be replaced by education, he said.
“We can make products for people who don’t want to smoke,” he added. “We make a tincture you put under your tongue that is coconut-oil based. You can use a vape pen and put oil in that. There are also topical skin products which are good for treating eczema, precancerous skin.”
And you don’t need to ingest the psychoactive elements of the marijuana plant to benefit from it.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical behind the marijuana high, harvested from the bud of the plant. But tiny leaves around the buds, called sugar trim, carry THC and CBD, or cannnabidiol, which is not psychoactive and doesn’t produce a high, but does a number of other beneficial things scientists are only beginning to uncover. CBD is effective at reducing or eliminating muscle spasms, has pain-killing, anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. Patients who want to avoid the high are still benefiting from medical marijuana, “Keith T.” added.
Ankner noted that the 43,000-square-foot facility is only half built out, and its state of the art design and processing are poised to expand further. MMM has heralded a new chapter for America’s Hometown, which will join the ranks of other towns and cities on the cutting edge of an industry that is literally growing like a weed.
Follow Emily Clark on Twitter @emilyOCM.
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