In Good Health, a large warehouse on the west side of the city, 2,000 marijuana plants will be cultivated, with the state's blessing, when the non-profit business opens in July.
By Joseph Markman
BROCKTON – The medical marijuana dispensary on West Chestnut Street is part high-tech, part hands-on.In one room, an employee of the non-profit In Good Health carefully tends to baby marijuana plants. They sway before a fan, building strength for the journey ahead.In another room, adolescent weed grows in organic soil. Workers quench the plants’ thirst from a jug of water treated with nutrients. Eventually, the plants will flower into buds, be trimmed, dried, packaged and sold.
Related content Medical pot advocates remain skeptical of new processBrockton dispensary's financial deal with the cityBudding RI pot dispensary gives glimpse of what could be in store for MassachusettsRead more about medical marijuana.
The dispensary – licensed by the state and scheduled to open this summer – is housed in a nondescript warehouse in an industrial part of the city. Behind a printing shop, just past a row of brand-new, climate control compressors, there is a small parking lot.
To get inside, patients must present their state-issued medical marijuana registration card. A keypad, with a camera affixed, acts as the bouncer. The first room contains 18 lockers, for patients to store hats, jackets and other gear, along with a security guard.
A few feet away is the retail space, but first patients must pass through a metal detector and present their marijuana card and other state identification. A computer system scans their ID, telling In Good Health if the patient has reached their limit of 10 ounces of marijuana per 60 days.
Financial projections the non-profit In Good Health made in its state application for a medical marijuana dispensary in Brockton
$1,575,000: first-year medical marijuana sales
$20,000: first-year supplies sales, such as vaporizers
$766,000: first-year total salaries
$1,268,000 first-year total expenses, not including any applicable taxes
$33,000: estimated first-year operating loss
David Noble, a former nursing home operator who is president of In Good Health, said he expects to serve about 20 patients at any time, with several in the waiting room and others reviewing an array of marijuana buds, oils, edibles and devices available for purchase.
The operation will eventually cultivate as many as 2,000 plants at any one time, and employ about 30 people. Noble has already reached a deal with the city, to provide $100,000 during the first year, and possibly more after that, depending on revenue.
In Good Health received its license from the Department of Public Health in late April. It is one of several dispensaries opening throughout the state, including one being planned for Taunton. Before it opens, the dispensary must have its patient education materials reviewed and its products tested.
The hours of operation are planned as 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Saturday and Sunday.
Once in operation, DPH officials will visit twice per month, once announced and once unannounced. In Good Health, as a nonprofit, has a board of directors and can pay its employees and provide bonuses, but does not have an ownership group that collects profits.
Noble was wary about sharing too much financial and security information, but did say that the organization spent more than $1 million upgrading the rear of the warehouse at 1200 West Chestnut St. In Good Health contracted with local companies to do the work, such as Stadelmann Electrical and Hawkeye Fence.
There is no public bathroom, to avoid patients consuming marijuana on premises, and workers wear jumpsuits without any pockets to discourage any theft of product. Most of the facility is employee-only space – for trimming plants, cloning seeds and office space for an accountant or two.
The growing area itself, featuring four “flowering” rooms, contains more LED lights than any other medical marijuana facility in the United States, Noble said.
Inside a brand-new commercial kitchen, a baker experienced in making marijuana food items will create “edibles,” such as cookies, brownies and cakes, ensuring that each item gets an even amount of THC, the primary intoxicant in marijuana. In Good Health has contracted with food distributor Sysco to get quality ingredients, Noble said.Another cook will oversee a process by which oil from marijuana is extracted to make the food. Everything, food included, ends up in a child-proof container before it leaves the dispensary.
A state-of-the-art air filtration system means the inside of the facility does not smell overwhelmingly like marijuana, and there is no scent outside. Noble said one neighbor, Brockton Area Arc, plans to provide disabled workers to help In Good Health affix labeling to packages – before they are filled with products.
Last week, the dispensary was in the beginning stages of growing 32 different strains of marijuana, though not all are expected to survive. Their seeds come from “legitimate” operations outside Massachusetts, but within the United States, Noble said.
Once harvested, a row of pots is re-planted. The facility will see about five harvests per year, Noble said, operating “like a manufacturing plant.”
The used soil and other organic material will be turned into compost and hauled north, where the remnants of a high-technology process return to the land, at the Franklin Park Zoo.
VIA Enterprise News
Colorado issues state licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries
Colorado has issued the first state-level business licenses for medical marijuana operations in the nation, even as the Obama administration has toughened its stance toward cannabis dispensaries.
Home to some of the nation’s most thorough cannabis regulations -- and an alternative weekly with a medical marijuana reviewer -- Colorado has issued 11 licenses to marijuana-related businesses around the state, the Denver Post reports.
Seven other operations have been told that they’re likely to receive a license, the paper said. State officials have also asked local officials whether 467 more dispensaries and cannabis product-makers have gained local approval, among the last steps in a yearlong application process.
Access to marijuana is among Colorado’s most hotly debated issues, with a group attempting to gather 86,000 signatures by January to place a partial-legalization measure on the ballot, the Post reported. (Among the foes of Colorado's Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol are legalization supporters who say the measure isn’t strong enough.)
Voters in California, the first state to decriminalize medical marijuana in 1996, defeated a similar measure last year.
This month, federal prosecutors in California sent letters to dispensary landlords telling them to stop selling marijuana within 45 days or risk the seizure of their property and criminal charges, a move that stunned the state’s legal-cannabis advocates.
Compassionate Pain Management's owner Shaun Gindi says he saw the devastation in Japan on the news, and floated the idea of donating some of his profits to help on Facebook.
After he got tons of positive feedback, he started brainstorming ideas for the campaign. After rejecting names like "Bake for the Quake" and "Joint Relief," he settled for what he thought was a more appropriate name of "Joints for Japan."
At Compassionate Pain Management's two locations in Lakewood and Louisville, joints sell for $5 a piece for those with a medical marijuana card and prescription. Gindi has promised 100 percent of the profits from those sales for at least the next two to three weeks to go to the Red Cross for recovery efforts in Japan.
Because marijuana remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government, charitable giving is not recognized as a write-off. Gindi says his donations are completely from the heart.
"It feels great to be able to do this. It feels great to give back," Gindi said.
Compassionate Pain Management is a licensed medical marijuana facility that pays Colorado state taxes and has 18 full-time employees.
Gindi believes more businesses in the industry should come together and donate for charitable causes, especially to let the community know that most medical marijuana facilities are in business for the right reasons.
"I think that we need to stand up and do whatever we can to get rid of the stigma that's attached to this. I don't think they [the people of Japan] care where help is coming from, not in the condition they are in now. Anyone that can help out should help out. It's devastated over there," he said.