First ‘mom and pop’ marijuana store in Massachusetts approved for license to open in Uxbridge

In Cannabis by Caroline's Cannabis


BOSTON — The Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday approved the first retail license for an independent marijuana store not affiliated with a larger medical marijuana company.

The commission gave a final license to Caroline Frankel to open Caroline’s Cannabis in Uxbridge.

“We’re taking it from a mom and pop perspective,” Frankel said. “All we’ve seen (so far) is big business.”

All nine retail stores open in Massachusetts to date are affiliated with companies that operate medical marijuana dispensaries. They generally have their own operations for growing marijuana and manufacturing products.

Frankel applied only for a retail license. She plans to buy her products wholesale from other cultivators and product manufacturers.

Frankel said she is planning a “country-inspired cannabis boutique store” that offers fine cannabis and cannabis products.

Frankel’s website advertises cannabis-related home and garden décor, signs made with scrap wood and reclaimed cannabis stalks. They include signs denoting a “medicinal garden” and another reading “cannapreneur.”

Frankel said she got her start in the cannabis-related décor business, and now plans to expand to other cannabis products.

It generally takes several weeks for a store to open after a final license is granted, and the store must undergo final inspections. Frankel said she hopes to open the first week in March. The store will be at 640 Douglas St. in Uxbridge.

Frankel, who calls herself a stay-at-home mom, said she has pursued building the business full time for the last six years. She is self-funded.

She said she hopes that her accomplishment as the first general applicant, not tied to a medical marijuana dispensary, and the first woman-owned business to get a license, can begin to “promote real change” in the makeup of the industry.

Of 278 complete applications that have been submitted to the Cannabis Control Commission so far, only eight came from businesses that identified themselves as women-owned. Another 16 fit two or more “disadvantaged business” categories, which can include businesses owned by women, veterans, minorities and others.

Chairman Steven Hoffman said the Cannabis Control Commission is committed to establishing a diverse industry.

“The law requires us to ensure this is a diverse industry, and I and the other commissioners are totally committed to that,” Hoffman said. “If it’s not turning into the kind of diverse industry that we’re all committed to, then we’ll decide what we need to do to make that happen.”

Commissioner Shaleen Title has been abstaining from every final license vote because she has disapproved of the terms of host community agreements, which often include requirements beyond the 3 percent community impact fee included in the state law.

Title did vote to approve the license for Caroline’s Cannabis, which passed on a unanimous 5-0 vote.

Title said she read the host agreement and thought it was “totally reasonable,” with a maximum fee of 3 percent of gross revenue.

Title called it “incredibly significant” that the commission issued the first license to a woman-owned, general applicant business. “I hope that we have a lot more like it,” Title said.

The Cannabis Control Commission also gave Berkshire Roots a final license to open a recreational marijuana shop in the same Pittsfield location where it currently operates a medical marijuana dispensary.

Berkshire Roots was also given licenses to cultivate marijuana, manufacture products and transport marijuana. The company bills itself as the largest grower of marijuana in the Berkshires. It operates a medical marijuana dispensary at 501 Dalton Ave. in Pittsfield. It also sells marijuana wholesale to other Massachusetts dispensaries.

Berkshire Roots is run by President Albert Wojtkowski and CEO Stephanie Aussubel. Former Democratic state Sen. Andrea Nuciforo, a Pittsfield attorney, is a co-founder of the company.

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