The Mashpee selectmen declined to enter a host agreement with Tree Beard Inc., a marijuana company seeking to open a manufacturing and delivery business at 800 Falmouth Road, in a unanimous vote on Monday, July 27.
The videoconference with the company came to an abrupt end as the company’s chief marketing officer, Hans Doherty, interrupted selectmen as he pushed back on their opposition to the sale of edible products such as gummies and lollipops.
With plans to operate under the name Old Soul Gardens, the New Bedford-based company planned to seek licenses for third-party transport, marijuana delivery and the manufacturing of marijuana products including edible gummies, hard candies and chocolates.
“Gummies has been a problem to begin with,” said board chairman John J. Cotton, noting two previous instances in which the board had rejected plans by companies who wanted to manufacture edible marijuana products in town.
As Mr. Cotton allowed selectmen to ask questions of the company, the issue of gummy and candy products arose multiple times. Each time Mr. Doherty pushed back.
“It’s not just gummies,” selectwoman Carol A. Sherman said. “It’s all the candy, the jellies, the lollipops, the baked goods.”
“Listen, listen, you guys are getting way over your heads with the edible situation,” Mr. Doherty replied.
Selectman Thomas O’Hara backed up Ms. Sherman.
“I’m with Carol. I can remember when we went with marijuana and one of the conditions was not to have edibles available in the Town of Mashpee,” Mr. O’Hara said.
Mr. Doherty asked if the concern over edibles was about children consuming the products.
“I’d like to address the board,” said Nicholas A. Gomes, a Tree Beard employee and attorney, as Mr. O’Hara attempted to address the question.
“Excuse me, you asked a question of me, do you want me to answer it?” Mr. O’Hara said. “You said it was because of the children. The answer is it is because of the children.”
Mr. Gomes followed up and noted that, as required by the Cannabis Control Commission, the products would come in childproof packaging with labels and warnings that the products contained THC, the main chemical that gives marijuana its effects.
“What we’re asking for is an opportunity to show you that we can do it in a safe manner that is not going to end up to have what many people fear of happening,” he said.
Selectman David W. Weeden spoke next, again raising the issue of edibles.
“I would agree that, looking at the merchandise that is going to be produced, it does seem it is geared toward children, lollipops, and it’s hard to get around that with the presentation before it—” Mr. Weeden said before being cut off by Mr. Doherty.
“Stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it,” Mr. Doherty said.
“I’m not going to stop it; please don’t over talk me,” Mr. Weeden said.
Mr. Doherty continued, “You’re way off track on the edible situation; cannabis has been used for hundreds of thousands of years.”
As Mr. Doherty went on, Town Manager Rodney C. Collins told the board, “You can rule them out of order,” and Mr. Gottlieb introduced a motion to reject the application.
After the motion was seconded, an unidentified representative of Tree Beard shouted over the video call, “Hans, shut the [expletive] up.”
The selectmen voted against the application and hung up on the videoconference.
“Well, the unprofessionalism, that made it easy, right?” Mr. Cotton said after the call disconnected.
The rejection of Tree Beard’s application on Monday was not the first time the selectmen have voiced opposition to edible products.
Mashpee has four host agreements with marijuana companies, none of which explicitly states the companies will not manufacture or sell edible products in town. Mashpee also does not have a bylaw prohibiting the manufacture or sale of edible products.
However, in November the board approved a host agreement with the company Ocean Grown with the verbal stipulation that the company not include edible products in its marijuana cultivation and manufacturing operation.
A representative of Ocean Grown told the board at the time that, while they had interest in manufacturing edible products, “If you’ve already told two folks that edibles is not something they should do and you don’t want it, I’m not in the business of convincing you of that.”
An executed host agreement with Ocean Grown is not on file with the selectmen’s office at town hall.
The company M3 Ventures, also known as Triple M, has two host agreements with the town, one for a currently operational medical facility and another for a planned recreational facility.
The medical facility lists edible products—including gummies, chocolates and lozenges—on its website.
Kevin O’Reilly, Triple M’s chief operating officer, said the future recreational marijuana facility plans to sell edible products as well. The products will come with the labels, warnings and childproof packaging required by law, he said.
Another marijuana company, CCE CAT, LLC, has a host agreement with the town for cultivation and manufacturing. According to minutes from the May 20, 2019, selectmen’s meeting that approved the agreement, the company manufactures edibles, but not gummies, in Mashpee.
The fourth host agreement with Mashpee Holdings LLC is for cultivation only.