23 Mass Cannabis Quotes That Put 2023 In Focus And Forecast The Future 

All together, these comments—from consumers, cultivators, CEOs, and others—show what’s up and what’s down when it comes to the business and culture of getting high

In reporting on developments in everything from policy to potency, we spend our days and sometimes even nights and weekends interviewing all the groups and individuals who make up the extensive world of cannabis in Massachusetts and beyond, from advocates, patients, and lawyers to dispensary workers and dab connoisseurs.

Taken separately, any of these quotables from exchanges we’ve had this year speak to the current state of Mass grass plus forecast potential future developments for any given issue, vegetative to legislative. But together, as a tapestry, this compendium of comments paints a current portrait of cannabis in the commonwealth and hints at what may be next for the community and industry.

Beth Waterfall of NECANN and ELEVATE NE on industry pain points … 

“The problems that Colorado and California encountered two years before us, we’re seeing now. In the past, it was all about gearing up for legalization and the big shift this year is … businesses are struggling and people aren’t paying their vendors. There is that trickle-down effect from prohibition where these businesses don’t have access to regular banking, or interstate commerce. So it’s really about how do we either consolidate and move forward or are we closing doors and going backwards?”

David Rabinovitz of Stone’s Throw Cannabis on repeating the same mistakes … 

“The market is currently oversaturated with cultivation capacity and because aspiring marijuana entrepreneurs tend to forsake market research, the applications keep coming.”

Dusty Christensen of the Shoestring on worker safety   

“In many cases, workers, union organizers, and activists say that exploitation, abuse, and low pay are part of the job. That is concerning enough, but the trouble, it seems, extends to the very air that many cannabis workers breathe.”

Brian Keith of Rooted In on rapid industry wide change … 

“Cannabis is a nascent industry, which is progressing through a traditional life cycle rapidly. The speed at which the industry boomed is currently catching up with it, and therefore the industry finds itself in a state of transition. Increased supply is driving prices lower which is great for the consumer, but the lower prices are difficult for many retailers due to the interest on the debt it takes to start a business like this remains high, the ‘cannabis premiums’ placed on real estate remain static, and competition increases daily.”

Tom Regan of Root & Bloom on importing winning ideas … 

“Bringing cannabis products to Massachusetts from another state is no easy task, due to the complex laws and regulations governing manufacturing and sales. … Root & Bloom is proud to have refined the capabilities and expertise to help out-of-state innovators, like Joyibles, bring unique, high quality cannabis products to Mass consumers. Joy Bombs is like no other product on the market, replacing the traditional ‘gummy’ with handmade, candy-coated fruit chews.”

CCC Executive Director Shawn Collins on exporting Mass brands … 

“We have some businesses here in Massachusetts that are doing some really interesting things. … You could just look at some of the beverage market that is available, some of the uncommon cannabinoids—we are starting to see some real work with CBG, and CBN—and those are largely coming from Massachusetts-based companies, so there is an opportunity to license that in another jurisdiction.”

Shaleen Title of the Parabola Center on steering equitable federal legalization … 

“There needs to be a unified voice that is free of corporate influence or funding. … The best way to push for a model of federal legalization that protects small cannabis businesses is to listen to the thousands of them who already exist.”

Aidan Cyr of ZZZ’s Rolling Paper Company on creative collaborations … 

“Our long-term vision for this company is to be the best way for a new independent artist to grow their brand and gain new opportunities. We’re always looking for new products to print their art on and continue to push our retail sales to allow us to pay them more and more in commission every quarter. We believe that the art community and the cannabis community fit so well together, and we want our business to be the bridge that connects these two amazingly creative parts of society.”

Devin Alexander of Rolling Releaf on alliances … 

“When you scroll through the Rolling Releaf [menu] … you’re supporting two small businesses with that purchase.” [The makers of the products they sell are] “people who we’ve seen go through the process, who have given us advice, and who have had our back through it all. We talked for years about what it would be like when all of us were up and running at the same time and we could deliver their products, and now the day has finally come.”

CCC Commissioner Kimberly Roy on growing microbusinesses potential … 

“I don’t think the fixes are a heavy lift. … [One idea is to allow microbusinesses to have more than one license type, a change that can simply come with the removal of a single line from the state regulations.] “If we can come to a consensus it might open doors. … They’re [currently] really confined in what they can do.”

Greg “Chemdog” Krzanowski of Smash Hits on shops selling clones for homegrow … 

“The plan is to continue cultivating and sharing the best craft cannabis genetics and flower available. When you are starting with four-inch clones already rooted in small pots of this quality genetics, it really makes growing cannabis at home a rewarding thing, from novice to…well, me.”

Equitable Opportunities Now on the future of social consumption … 

“After more than five years and a significant new cannabis law addressing social consumption, now is the time to move forward with a comprehensive, equitable, safe, and healthy onsite consumption licensing and regulatory framework.”

Elis Omoroghomwan and Gabe Vieira of Zyp Run on social equity in action 

“It’s great to see two young Black men be in a position to build this company in a building that is historic in the City of Boston in order to change the narrative. … We want to be able to take a mixture of the corporate cannabis market and the black market and bring the best of both worlds together to show acceleration and growth in the cannabis industry. … Social equity brands have been flying off our shelves.”

Bobby & Bailey Nuggz of the Greenskeeper Cup on competitions … 

“With so many dispensaries and cultivators now in the state we feel it’s important for competitions like this to help elevate a quality standard in the industry and it’s also a positive way for these businesses to advertise and get their names out there to stay relevant in an ever changing market with so many business limitations.”

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu on the last New England holdout … 

“Knowing that a majority of our residents support legalization, it is reasonable to assume change is inevitable.”

Andrew Bettencourt of Fine Fettle on breaking tradition in the great outdoors  

“This was my first run with autos [autoflower plants] and it completely changed my mind. Ruderalis is perfect for a New England environment. A lot of growers out here are behind the West Coast, and the West Coast still hates autos because you don’t need to worry about [frost and light changes] when you have a full season, but this is a hidden wave. People listen to California when they say that autos suck, but they don’t suck.”

Will Ried of RiverRun Gardens on growing “Kobe” beef-quality flower

“We want the best product—we’re not going to put something on the shelf that we wouldn’t consume ourselves. When we are going through our quality control process, that’s what we go for—we want to invoke that same reaction about the flavors, the aromas, the crystallization of the trichrome. We grow for people who want to get excited about a really high-quality product.”

Shanel Lindsay of Blue River Terps on specialty shops

“It’s innovation at its finest. … If you look at Blue River, and what we bring to the table, it’s not a billion products in the store. It’s a very select, curated experience for people that are heady—but also for newbies, because we have a lot of mixed cannabinoid blends, like CBN and CBG, where we’re bringing that wellness experience.”

Tommy Coriale of Heavy Metal magazine on exclusive collectible drops

“It’s less about references to cannabis [and] more about the DNA of it, the edginess of it, and combining the world of cannabis with the world of graphic novels, comics, and storytelling. … With the packaging, on the outside you see the logo and some faint images of the characters, but on the inside there is collectible art with QR codes that will take you to experiences.”

Angela Brown of Coast Cannabis on going high when others go low

“We set out to create a brand that thought of the product first and the cost second. We really honed in on those ingredients and that’s why when it comes to our edibles we use such high-quality organic products. We are dealing with a stigma. … The last thing that we want to do as an industry is get someone through the door, they have finally put their trust in us, and then [have them] leave feeling duped. That’s what set us out to make these products that really have the effect based outcome that you want, and we do that by using the different cannabinoids.”

Zach Helms of Berkshire Roots on the continued importance of medical marijuana

“Many individuals turn to cannabis as a vital part of their health and wellbeing. … Patient care is our priority at our dispensaries. The benefits from a health and wellness perspective as well as pricing discounts only available to medical cannabis patients allow us to provide solutions such as higher potency products and also offer discounts not offered to the adult use market. This, in turn, makes cannabis even more accessible to more individuals.”

Peter Gallagher and Sara Sullivan of Insa on big operators going bigger and boutique-ier

“Our new [fifth] location [in Avon] further expands the brand across our home state, providing cannabis access to more medical patients in a region of the state we have yet to serve. … From the motion-censored flower bar providing authentic aromas of available strains, to the curated product presentations, the Insa experience is truly unique.”

Jon Levine of MariMed on the big picture

“My background was in mass merchandising in the manufacturing sporting goods business, and it was amazing to learn that the Northeast was a very dedicated, loyal area where, once you get into this market, it is really a great market … Today, this market still supports the mom-and-pops, and I think cannabis is interesting because of the way that New England is capping the number of licenses you can have, which keeps that local flair, and I think there’s still plenty of market in this economy for all of the dispensaries that are here.”