Chamber of Commerce receives medicinal marijuana update

CAMBRIDGE – Mackie Barch of the medicinal marijuana company Culta made a presentation Feb. 13 to members of the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce. The Cambridge business is part of a rapidly expanding legal sector of the U.S. economy.

“It’s one of the fastest job creation industries,” he said.

Culta was founded in 2014, and now owns the property at 10 Washington St, comprising 12 acres and two warehouses. “Culta has invested more than $11 million in Cambridge,” Mr. Barch said.

He told the group of local businessmen and women that the company now employs 23 persons, with another 20 expected to start soon. Full employment, he said, is planned to be around 100.

That won’t happen right away, though, and is dependent in part on how licenses are granted. “It’ll probably take us about five years to get there,” Mr. Barch said.

The industry as a whole is growing fast, expected to outpace beer sales in California by 2019, and to bring in more cash than the National Football League by 2020, Mr. Barch said.

He said the products’ medicinal qualities have been shown to reduce opiate deaths and do not contribute to increased recreational use among youth. “We see teen use dropping in states with cannabis programs,” Mr. Barch said. While he had no hard facts for how this occurred, he speculated that if marijuana were no longer illicit, it could be that the thrill of illegal purchase and use was reduced.

The group learned that Culta operates a modern facility, at which every plant and clipping is individually tracked. The site features a 20,000-square-foot cultivation area and a 6,000-square-foot extraction lab. “The company is planning on turning the property into a cannabis campus that will include indoor, greenhouse and outdoor production,” a prepared statement said.

This comprehensive approach to cultivation allows the company to control growth of the plants for the desired result. “We can play Mother Nature,” Mr. Barch said.

The current situation in the United States – with marijuana, medicinal or otherwise – occupying a sometimes vaguely defined area of the law, is to Culta’s benefit, Mr. Barch said.

“Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions are really great for marijuana,” Mr. Barch told the Chamber of Commerce members. “The longer it’s a gray area, the better for me.”

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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