MJBizMagazine September 2021 - 54

Retail Revoution
Mindful Moves in Massachusetts
MASSACHUSETTS
Legalized medical marijuana: 2012
Projected MMJ dispensary sales for
2021: $250 million to $305 million
Legalized recreational: 2016
Projected recreational retail sales
for 2021: $1.1 billion to $1.4 billion
Source: 2021 MJBizFactbook
Retail Tips
* Look for markets likely to legalize adultuse
marijuana and secure medical cannabis
licenses in areas that are hospitable to
the industry.
* Hire a legal team to advise your company
on location scouting, regulations and
compliance.
* Don't rush into opening additional adultuse
stores if your medical marijuana retail
model is working.
Regulations that allowed
Massachusetts businesses to have up
to three medical and three recreational
licenses played a major role in the state's
transition from an MMJ to an adult-use
market. Where businesses chose to locate
was contingent on what was permitted by
local municipalities.
Sanctuary Medicinals, for example,
started in New Hampshire's small
medical marijuana market. But company
executives decided that expanding to
Massachusetts would be necessary to
create a thriving cannabis business.
" We knew that adult-use (legalization)
there was inevitable and that we had
to participate in it to be competitive, "
Sanctuary Chief Operating Officer Nick
Satmary said. In 2016, the company
started scouting towns to gauge local
sentiment and search for real estate.
A Good Bet
Ultimately, Satmary and his team settled
on Gardner, a town of 20,000, where
they found a storefront near major
highways with ample parking and where
the local government licensed MMJ
businesses and was expected to permit
adult use as well.
54 MJBizMagazine | September 2021
Sanctuary received approval to begin a
medical business first, started cultivating
in 2017 and opened its Gardner
dispensary on Nov. 23, 2018-about the
same time Massachusetts' recreational
market was coming online.
Leadership's expectation that Gardner
would be one of few locales to approve
recreational businesses proved correct.
Because Massachusetts allows medical
and recreational sales to co-locate,
Sanctuary opened an adult-use operation
under the same roof on March 6, 2019.
At that point, Sanctuary was still one
of the few recreational stores in Massachusetts,
and its opening was greeted
with long lines of customers.
No-Rush Rec
But rather than rushing to open more
recreational stores, Sanctuary opened two
more medical outlets-one in Danvers
on July 6, 2019, and the other in Woburn
on Sept. 9, 2019. Sanctuary chose the
locations because the towns had opted out
of adult-use sales and there were only a
small number of medical license holders
to compete with in the area.
" We picked those locations because we
knew that they were going to opt out of
adult use but also because of the access
for patients, " Satmary said.
Sanctuary opened its second adult-use
retail location in Brookline, Massachusetts,
on Aug. 1, 2020, and is currently
considering locations for its third recreational
license.
Ready, Set, Sell
Satmary said that, so far, the transition
from medical marijuana to adult use has
been successful because of preparation.
This includes meticulous location
scouting, staying in close contact
with state regulators, careful product
selection, compliance and hiring " good
lawyers " -in this case, the Boston office
of cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg.
" We trained all of our team on safety,
compliance, product knowledge, " SatInfused
edibles for medical marijuana patients
can contain up to 10 times as much THC as
adult-use edibles. Courtesy Photo
mary said. " We studied established adultuse
markets, where they priced products
and what the bestsellers were. At the
start, we kept everything very basic: flower,
pre-rolls, vapes, concentrates, shatters,
crumbles, sauce and then edibles like
lozenges, fruit chews and chocolate. "
Adult-use Challenges
As in other markets, Massachusetts
had a much lower THC cap for adult
use than for MMJ. Recreational
edibles, for example, can contain no
more than 100 milligrams per package
and 10 milligrams per piece versus
1,000 milligrams per package and 100
milligrams per piece for medical edibles.
The discrepancy required adjusting
dosages for some products but nothing
that was especially costly or laborintensive,
Satmary said.
Another challenge was integrating
Sanctuary's seed-to-sale platform,
BioTrack THC, with the new Metrc
system that Massachusetts mandated for
recreational retailers.
" The biggest thing was just integrating
our seed-to-sale with Metrc to make sure
they kept up in real time with each other, "
Satmary said. " This was new for us-it
was also new for the commonwealth and
new for the regulators here.
" Everybody was learning Metrc here
at the same exact time. So the little
nuances that came with Metrc-the
tracking surrounding it, the inventory,
compliance-all of that was a big
challenge. "

MJBizMagazine September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MJBizMagazine September 2021

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