HANSON — The owners of Hanson’s marijuana growing facility, met with the Select Board on progress toward approval of the delivery/operator license on Tuesday, July 26.
A public hearing will be scheduled on that license after the board votes to permit it.
The business currently has only a cultivation license and, while they have gone through the licensing process for manufacturing, they have not yet received that license, said co-owner Ally Greenberg.
“We’re 90 days into operation, we’re growing, and that’s really all I can say about it,” she said.
Select Board Chair Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett said that people are anxious to see revenue for the town, asking when they expect to start sending the product out.
“It is in your community agreement that the terms don’t start until we actually produce some revenue,” Ally Greenberg said. “I haven’t seen any revenue [yet], I’m just growing, still.”
Ally Greenberg said the first harvest should be in early September.
“We’ll [then] go through the testing, make sure it’s clean and hopefully get some money back to the town,” she said. “I can’t grow it fast enough.”
Ralph Greenberg said they were excited about the opportunity to be before the Select Board again as they look to create some value for both the town and their business.
“It’s a long road that we’ve started on together, and we’re at a point that cannabis is growing in our building,” he said, cautioning that the market has dropped a minimum of 50 percent since they started the permitting process.
“By the request of this delivery license that we’re looking for today, is a real opportunity for us to make money at this point,” he said. “Without that delivery license, we’ll be brokering our product to the wholesalers and that market is a very, very tough market.”
FitzGerald-Kemmett said residents have been nervous about what a delivery permit would allow, noting that some townspeople were wary about the prospect of a brick-and-mortar outlet in town.
“It is clear they are passionate about this community and their operation,” Impressed LLC attorney Nicholas Gomes, with offices in New Bedford/Fall River and Boston, said. “Cultivation is the core of their business. … What they are, essentially, seeking to do is to add the delivery operator license type.”
He explained that the cultivating means the company would be allowed to warehouse and stores what they produce under their cultivation license in a safe, secure vault. The delivery/operating license would permit the business to make direct sales to consumers through delivery to their house.
Buyers are required to show proof that they are over age 21 and proper delivery procedures are in place before Impressed LLC makes a delivery to a customer’s home.
“By the numbers, the reason why this is a beneficial license for Impressed LLC and the town, is because it is allowing Impressed LLC to not just let it grow its flower and sell it to wholesale purchasers across Massachusetts,” Gomes said.
According to Gomes, the average price for a pound of marijuana is about $2,500, while at the consumer end of the business, an ounce of marijuana is between $250 and $300 on the retail level, as opposed to about $150 wholesale.
“The commodity is sold, of course, for a higher value [at] retail,” Gomes said. “The difference between what Impressed LLC can sell its flower for on the wholesale market, compared to what they can do on the retail market … retail is going to be at least a 50-percent markup from that wholesale value.”
The request for a delivery/operator license will permit the company to avoid a rush by consumers and the accompanying traffic concerns, mainly because they are aware of the town’s concerns about the problems by not operating a store font retail business.
“It has the bonus of allowing the town to share in the higher retail prices, while eliminating those concerns,” Gomes said. “No individuals from the public would ever come to the property of Impressed LLC — they wouldn’t be allowed in if they tried — and no walk-in purchase is available.”
He said all transactions would be via online or phone applications.
“This is a logistical business,” Gomes said.
Gomes said it was possible that so many articles on the same Town Meeting warrant might have been confusing, and advocated placing the delivery license alone before Town Meeting again if it would clarify the issue. If the town wants to restrict deliveries to customers outside of Hanson, they can do so.
He said he does not know of any area towns that restrict deliveries within their towns, but that there are delivery companies in the Bridgewaters, the North Shore, Plymouth and areas to the west of town.
“Because we voted no on retail, that puts almost a firewall around us for anybody to deliver because that would be considered retail in Hanson,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said.
Town Administrator Lisa Green asked if medical-use cannabis would be allowed for delivery — for homebound clients, for example. Gomes said medical use was permitted to be delivered by courier system, which is a purely delivery service that is not a manufacturer or involved in pricing.
Select Board member Ann Rein asked how the company would be able to ensure that those ordering online were of legal age.
“The benefit of the delivery process the state has come up with is numerous contact points for verification,” Gomes said. A person placing an order would be required to personally show an ID at one of the retail cannabis businesses in the state. There are also teams of two making deliveries – with one remaining in the vehicle for security – and GPS tracking as well as in-vehicle and body camera camera surveillance of delivery personnel in use.
No cash transactions would be made.
Deliveries in completely unmarked vehicles – aiming for the use of EVs and no matching vehicle fleet – would be planned logistically so delivery crews would be out most if not all of the day and not constantly be driving in and out.
FitzGerald-Kemmett asked if there was a cap on the amount of marijuana that could be delivered to any one location.
Gomes said a limit of a flower/ounce or 5 ounces of concentrate would be the individual limit per day.
“When it comes to this issue, you’re going to find that there’s three separate camps of folks,” Select Board Vice Chair Joe Weeks said. “You have people who don’t want marijuana in this town, you have people that absolutely want every form of it and then you have a bunch of people in the middle that want to make sure if it’s here, it’s done responsibly.”
Weeks said it was the people in the middle range of attitude that need to be communicated with in the clearest manner. He asked if there was anything that was clearly written to provide that level of security, predictability and accountability.
“Words are words until they actually become facts,” he said.
FitzGerald-Kemmett agreed that too much was attempted at Town Meeting.
“Fiasco is the word that comes to mind,” she said. “It was just not handled well. We have learned from that and we will not make that mistake again.”
She underscored that what Weeks was looking for was facts.
Gomes said he would confer on the matter with his clients, but suggested sending a formal request to the board requesting its support, having a warrant article placed before Town Meeting and providing specific details in a memorandum format with citation to Massachusetts law and/or regulation. He said he would also provide the steps in the process in writing, too.