October 18, 2018

Franklin marijuana grower building out retail space

Marijuana is grown inside a sprawling New England Treatment Access facility in Franklin. NETA is looking to add to its manufacturing space and add a retail component.

New England Treatment Access, a Franklin marijuana grower and seller known as NETA, is expanding its already-sprawling growing and manufacturing space and working to add a retail store.

The store, which would sell marijuana in the state's soon-to-come recreational pot market, could open in the first quarter of next year, said Norton Arbelaez, a NETA spokesman.

NETA's total space at 5 Forge Parkway now exceeds 100,000 square feet. Just under half is currently built out, with the remainder to be finished as the company's needs grow.

"We're planning ahead for the next couple fiscal years," Arbelaez said. The state's marijuana use could double or triple in the coming years, he added, and the company is looking to be ready for the extra demand.

NETA already has medicinal marijuana shops in Brookline and Northampton, and intends to add Franklin to that list. All three locations would also sell under the state's recreational marijuana market, though in separate physical spaces than where customers are buying it for medical use, Arbelaez said.

NETA was, along with Leicester's Cultivate, among the first to be approved to sell recreational marijuana earlier this month by the Cannabis Control Commission. Sales await product safety testing first.

NETA has been using the Franklin space to grow marijuana since 2014, with its space there including a commercial kitchen, research and extraction laboratories and other space. Roughly 250 employees work at the Franklin location, and the company has around 400 in all.

Franklin Town Council last year passed zoning limiting retail facilities to industrial parks via a special permit.

No legal sellers of marijuana have been able to open in the recreational market, but NETA hopes to do so in Northampton before the end of the month, Arbelaez said.


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