NBC 10 I-Team: Fairhaven marijuana dispensary first on South Coast
A sea of green plants soak up 315 watt fluorescent light in a balmy 78 degrees.
The end result is a product worth packaging.
"Very potent. It's a hybrid,” said Chapman Dickerson, holding a white bucket of marijuana called "Biodiesel."
Bask Inc. in Fairhaven is about to be noticed as the only registered medical marijuana business up and running in southeastern Massachusetts. The closest competitor is in Bridgewater.
"There's a lot of stigma around cannabis and that's a legacy of prohibition. I think the biggest message is -- that's going away," said Tim Keogh, chairman of the Bask board of directors.
The cleanly kept, environmentally-sealed 10,000-square-foot grow operation off Interstate 195 is the brainchild of locals Keogh and Dickerson. The dispensary opens about five years after a lengthy permitting and licensing process.
"We've got a wide selection of lotions and topicals, transdermal patches, edible products. We have caramels and lozenges, a chocolate bar, your traditional cookie," added Keogh.
A menu greets customers in the front lobby. A pot-infused chocolate chip cookie costs $20.
Bask grows 28 different strains of marijuana plants in different climate controlled rooms. On average, the process takes about four months for the flowers to mature.
"This is Lemon Jeffrey. Give it a little squeeze. Put your face right into it. Smells like lemons, right?" said Dickerson.
With 16 employees, the business isn't just selling traditional pot, but an alternative to modern medicine.
"Where we see the biggest area of growth is with people who don't have a relationship with cannabis. They're looking to cure something or at least help alleviate symptoms associated with a variety of conditions," said Keogh.
Keogh and Dickerson also have cannabis interests north of Fall River. As CEO of the publicly traded company AmeriCann, Keogh is overseeing the construction of a greenhouse facility currently slated for 30,000 square feet of space in Freetown. Bask will eventually be a tenant in that facility, along with other growing operations, yet remain in Fairhaven, too.
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission has used July 1 as a starting point for the legal, public sale of marijuana in permitted locations. Some municipalities have banned pot sales and some, like Fairhaven, have issued moratoriums on public sales.
Keogh said Bask is working with town officials to roll out a safe public sales plan at their storefront, likely sometime in late 2018.
For perspective, Massachusetts has 24 registered medical marijuana dispensaries, serving 48,265 active patients. Rhode Island has three dispensaries, serving 18,728 registered patients, according to state records.