Wow, the Massachusetts marijuana scene has changed a lot since I was here this past December. Adult-use cannabis sales finally began in November of 2018 after voters chose to make the Bay State the first East Coast state to start selling recreational marijuana in 2016. While it took Mass a while to get sales rolling, they are truly rolling now. When I was here this past winter, only Cultivate in Leicester was open and I had a ton of fun visiting their dispensary in the state I grew up in. Just look at the Google map now when you search Massachusetts recreational marijuana dispensaries. While it’s making some serious progress, there is still a long way to go which is why this upcoming CannaCon in Springfield on August 23rd and 24th is super important.
The potential for the cannabis market in Boston and the rest of Massachusetts is extraordinary. All the states surrounding Mass like Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island, are all very progressive towards cannabis law reform but none of them have managed to start selling adult-use cannabis. Theory Wellness, a cannabis dispensary all the way on the western state border of MA, claims that well over 50% of their sales comes from New York residents that have made the trek over the border. I was in Rhode Island to visit my aunt and we took a trek to Northeast Alternatives in Fall River, MA, which was only about 30 minutes away. I went to NETA in Northampton, MA from Hartford, CT in less than an hour. I’m just outside of Boston now and I plan on visiting a brand new dispensary that just opened called Temescal Wellness in Hudson tomorrow.
It is striking to me that not only have the dispensaries become well distributed throughout Massachusetts since I was here in December, but also how easy it is for residents of neighboring states to come for a quick visit. Dispensaries like NETA in Northampton, Northeast Alternatives in Fall River, Temescal in Hudson and needless to say the dispensaries in Boston, are all surrounded by great shopping and restaurants. Cannabis enthusiasts have every reason to be excited to come visit Massachusetts and I am sure the Bay State is fine with its neighbors’ lethargic energy towards cannabis legalization. As of this article, according to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, Mass dispensaries have seen gross sales of adult-use cannabis since its November inception, of $219 million. Just think about what sales will be like next April, the only ever whole month of 4/20!
Next April is probably the biggest reason why the cannabis conventions like CannaCon are so very important right now. While Mass may be light years ahead of the rest of the east coast in terms of weed, there is still a lot to improve. A wide variety of cannabis strain cultivars are always appealing to cannabis consumers along with glass smoking pipes. Both of those things were lacking at the dispensaries I have visited in Massachusetts so far. One of the unique features of CannaCon is that they seek out vendors that can offer unique strains only available at their shows. They have a myriad of glass pipe vendors too. I attended the CannaCon convention held in Boston last July and there were a little over 5,000 attendees. In my experience having attended all the cannabis B2B conventions, some with more than 25,000 attendees, 5,000 thousand is a good number especially if you really want to get business done. When a convention is overloaded you never get a chance to talk to anyone and do some solid negotiating.
Massachusetts regulations only allow edibles to contain a maximum of 5mgs of THC per edible, which is the lowest I have ever seen. Even in Florida’s strict medical marijuana market, I can buy 10 to 50 mg THC pills. They still don’t allow edibles in Florida, don’t ask me why, it makes so little sense that there is no explanation. With the low dosage of THC in the Massachusetts cannabis edibles, I noticed that they get pretty creative with their edibles. I bought these blueberry cheesecake edibles at Northeast Alternatives in Fall River, MA that are absolutely delicious. At CannaCon in Springfield, they are featuring master cannabis chef Shaun O’Neale for cooking demos. Edibles are getting more popular and what will draw consumers are innovative and fun treats infused with weed.
If you have a chance to attend CannaCon in Springfield, MA this August 23rd and 24th, I highly recommend it. You can find a 20% discount to tickets here with the promo code early20. I think it would be only good business to recognize the influx of people that are likely to visit Massachusetts next April for the 4/20 month-long holiday. New Yorkers, Vermonters, Connecticutors, New Hampshires, Rhode Islanders, Mainers and New Jersey residents will probably migrate to Mass curious about festivals, events, weed varieties and deals. It only makes sense for dispensaries to prepare for the onslaught that is likely coming their way.