ATHOL – MassGrow CEO Andrea Cabral appeared in front of the city’s selectboard last week to report on developments in the cannabis company’s facility in the former Union Twist Drill building at 134 Chestnut Hill Avenue. Cabral, former Suffolk County sheriff and Secretary of State for Public Security, is also CEO of Ascend Mass LLC, which plans to open a cannabis retail store in Boston.
“Regarding the licenses,” she said to the board, “we received our preliminary license in May 2019 and passed the so-called preliminary license inspection with the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), the inspectors, in October. We have our final license received in November last year.
“A final license entitles a crop to do essentially anything except sell or transport cannabis products. In this way, we were able to introduce so-called genetics – seeds – into the facility and enter them into the metric that the state uses for inventory control from seeds to sales. You can also use it to hire employees. ”
In particular, the city agreed with MassGrow LLC’s plans to convert the former tool factory into a marijuana growing facility in June 2018. MassGrow, Cabral reminded the management, had held a four-day job fair last summer and created a very large pool of candidates for employment.
“Recruitment continues,” she said. “It is growing, so it is slow at first because you are just planting your first plant and you have to wait until these plants reach a certain age before you can harvest them. But after that you have rolling crops so that you are constantly growing more canopies – or fill your canopy with more plants – and therefore be able to set more. ”
Cabral said the company’s first round of recruitment began on November 14.
“We are now preparing for what the Cannabis Control Commission will call after the final license inspection,” she said. “There are a number of conditions that we have to meet and we will fix them all. However, among other things, all employees must be registered as representatives of marijuana offices. Anyone entering a facility, particularly an employee, must be one be a registered representative. ”
Potential employees, she explained, go through a “strict” background check.
“I think we had an exception for all the people we hired,” she said. “And everyone else we have hired has a registered agent card. They have to be renewed every year, so we pay for a round of background checks every year. ”
Cabral further stated that MassGrow would receive a commissioning order after the inspection license was granted.
“(This) allows you to do the last two things that the final license order did not allow you to do,” she said, “namely, to transport and sell cannabis products. In my opinion, within three days of receiving the order, you can do that And MassGrow will sell cannabis products to other cannabis retailers and deliver cannabis products to its own retail locations. ”
Cabral also provided information on the 31 employees hired by MassGrow. She said 12 were women, 19 men – “I’m keeping a close eye on this relationship,” she said. Eighteen are cultivators, there are three directors, three managers, a personnel officer, an inventory specialist, four security agents, and a security director.
“We’ll be adding another six to seven trimmers in February,” she continued. After that, the number of employees will increase because we are currently working in phase 1 of the expansion. There are two other phases. ”
Cabral said that she had kept her promise to rent on-site, declaring that eight Athol employees, six from Orange, two each from New Salem, Templeton, Greenfield and Royalston, and one each from Leominster, Millers Falls, Warwick. Winchendon, Holden, Acton and Worcester.
When asked by city manager Shaun Suhoski, Cabral replied that her organization’s greatest hope was to create 300 jobs in the acreage.
The MassGrow CEO also said the company will rent office space at Athol Credit Union at 527 Main St. and encourage all employees to bank there.
Without further questions from the board, Cabral came to the conclusion: “We are really making progress and I think it will be great.”