“We want to have the kind of shop that makes you think, ‘Oh cool, I get to go buy weed,’ rather than, ‘Fuck, I have to go get weed.’”
“Ribbon cutting is lame” insist the owners of New England’s recently opened nautical-themed dispensary, Trade Roots in Wareham. Instead, they broke a bottle of champagne to mark their grand opening this month.
Co-owners Jesse Pitts and Carl Giannone plan on breaking free of cookie-cutter dispensary norms in every way they can. For starters, they say they carry more premium, craft, and organic products than the average pot shop, applying a “farm-to-table approach to weed,” as Giannone puts it.
Trade Roots follows through on these promises right in front of customers, developing about half their products on site. Uniquely, you can even see part of their grow through glass behind the counter. Pitts and Giannone also note that they recycle nearly 80% of the dispensary’s water through a state-of-the-art underground system.
Beyond taking extra measures to maintain an eco-friendly joint, Giannone highlights how Trade Roots is the state’s “first social equity business to obtain licenses in retail, product and manufacturing.” The program “creates pathways into the cannabis industry for individuals most impacted by the War on Drugs”; in their case, Pitts once served a nine-month jail sentence in Plymouth County after he was caught dealing 70 pounds worth of, you guessed it, cannabis to his fellow UMass Amherst students while attempting to pay for his degree in Astrophysics, which he eventually earned in spite of it all.
With their social equity license, the Trade Roots owners recognize, comes great responsibility.
“Being the first vertically-integrated program participant, building a diverse workforce is extremely important to us. Working with our partners at Viridity Group, we held job fairs in Wareham and New Bedford which proved really fruitful,” Giannone says. “We’re fortunate that in spite of a tight labor market, we’ve been able to attract amazing coworkers.”
“Employees here are divided into three categories–retail, cultivator, and product manager,” Trade Roots COO Roger Williamson says. “Everyone already has at least one badge and is on their way to getting all three.”
As for their collaborators from across the state, Giannone says, “We have so many great partners,” noting High Plains Farm in the Berkshires among others. “In Massachusetts, at least, this industry seems to attract bright, kind, hardworking, fun loving people.
“Jesse and I are lucky to come to work everyday.”