By Emily Clark ON Februray 7, 2018
PLYMOUTH – There was a time when an enormous bag of pot was an illicit visual, seen only by illegal drug dealers and police departments that had seized them.
As of Thursday of this week, medical marijuana certificate card holders will begin arriving at Triple M, located at 9 Collins Ave. in the Plymouth Industrial Park, and drive home with marijuana products, from flowers and pre-rolled “joints” to capsules, concentrates, vapor cartridges, topical ointments, tinctures and accessories like vaporizers.
Not all products will produce a marijuana high. Plenty of products here contain only CBD, derived from parts of the plant without tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which produces the mind-altering affect. CBD, or cannabidiol, is harvested for those seeking relief from inflammation, pain, anxiety, psychosis and seizures, among other afflictions.
Triple M will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday by appointment. Walk-ins are welcome, but those with appointments will be seen first.
Triple M is the new name, by the way. It used to be Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts.
Triple M co-founder, Director of Compliance and General Counsel Lianne Ankner and Triple M Chief Operating Officer Kevin O’Reilly led a tour of the 46,000-square-foot facility Monday, revealing growth from every angle. Mother plants of Triple M’s various varieties fill the propagation room, where experts take small clippings, called “clones,” to produce flowering plants with the sought-after buds. They’re called mother plants because that’s exactly what they are, according to Triple M Director of Cultivation Doug A.
“There are no male plants here,” he explained. “All we want are the female flowers. They can flower without the male just like chickens can lay an egg.”
Other windowless laboratories feature marijuana in various stages of processing, with workers trimming leaves from buds, hanging budded flowers to dry, and using a variety of devices to extract oils, resins and CBD from the plants.
Surrounded by beakers, robotics and pressing machines, Keith T. oversees these extractions, which become tinctures, oils, resins and other non-smoking products.
He led the way through a six-step process using the tiny sugar trim around the bud to create marijuana-infused products.
Medical marijuana has a myriad of uses and strains and products to match those uses. Studies indicate that medical marijuana has benefited people suffering from Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, seizures, nausea from chemotherapy treatments, insomnia, anxiety and pain. According to the National Eye Institute, marijuana use and THC eases eye pressure in glaucoma patients. Other studies suggest marijuana helps with epileptic seizures by binding to brain cells that cause excitability, helps prevent cancers from spreading by turning off the gene Id-1, slows the progression of Alzheimer’s by slowing the formation of plaques in the brain, eases the pain of multiple sclerosis, helps with irritable bowel syndrome, aids the pain of arthritis, soothes Parkinson’s tremors and helps those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. The list goes on and on.
Triple M offers multiple strains that target different illnesses, including Blue Dream, Courtney Cut ACDC, Gorilla Glue, Graddaddy Purple, Tardis #9, Triple Medi Haze and White Rhino.
This continues to be a cash and debit card business, as the federal government still does not recognize medical marijuana use as legal. Triple M, which is working with Century Bank, also accepts payment through a CanPay mobile app on client’s smart phones, which links directly to debit accounts. Doctors cannot technically prescribe cannabis, but can recommend its use for patients. These recommendations are then filed with the state’s Department of Public Health, which sends the applicant a medical marijuana card, which looks a lot like a driver’s license, Ankner said.
Have a medical marijuana card and want to make an appointment at Triple M? Visit the company’s website at mm-ma.org, where you can make an appointment, find a rundown of all the products, various strains and what they do as well as links to register with the state, find a doctor and data on marijuana. It can be confusing to those unfamiliar with marijuana and its strains, so Triple M patient education specialists are on hand to sit down with clients and help them determine the best fit.
Thursday’s opening will likely be followed by another opening later in the year, because Triple M is poised for even more growth.
In October, Town Meeting voted to only allow recreational marijuana retail stores by special permit in the town’s industrial zones and to limit the number of them to four. Triple M is applying for a license to sell recreational marijuana. According to the state’s draft regulations, medical marijuana dispensaries may sell recreational marijuana as long as there is a clear, physical division between the two uses. That shouldn’t be a problem, Ankner said.
“We submitted our special permit application to the Zoning Board of Appeals last Thursday,” O’Reilly said.
Triple M signed a host agreement with the town, and will likely need another for recreational marijuana, if this permit is forthcoming. According to the nonprofit’s existing agreement, Triple M paid the town $20,000 as promised when it pulled building permits for the facility in 2016. Last year, Triple M gave the town $40,000 per the agreement, and owes Plymouth $100,000 by Dec. 31 of this year. The payments increase by 3 percent per year, O’Reilly said.
“In addition, we pay property tax and pay an additional amount equal to that, basically paying property taxes twice,” he added.
The town is allowed to tax recreational marijuana sales by up to 3 percent per year.