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Updated: June 12, 2023 From the Editor

From the Editor: A cannabis future without stigma

The Massachusetts culture around the use of marijuana has come a remarkably long way in the five years since the first legal adult-use dispensaries opened in Leicester and Northampton. Yet, we have a long way to go.

WBJ editor Brad Kane at his desk
WBJ Editor Brad Kane

Ahead of the 2016 ballot measure that led to recreational cannabis legalization, the state’s governor, mayor of its largest city, and attorney general (now current governor) were strongly opposed to the initiative, warning of potential dire consequences. Fast forward to today, nearly 300 dispensaries are open, the conservation around consumption is shifting from the medical benefits to the joys of recreational use, those dire consequences never materialized, and Gov. Maura Healey told Commonwealth Magazine her 2016 opposition may have been unnecessary.

As I wrote in this space a year ago, I’ve come around on marijuana, too, having gone from a young adult who lectured his friends about the supposed ills of getting high to now being a frequent user of cannabis edibles. At WBJ, we have regular conversations about our favorite products and dispensaries. One of these conversations directly led to WBJ breaking news on June 6 about CommCan closing its Southborough operations amid a consolidation.

In this edition, we examine how far the business of cannabis has come, particularly how the market went from having guaranteed large margins for a handful of operators to now hundreds of companies pushing prices – and margins – lower and lower. WBJ Correspondent Monica Benevides writes about how small businesses are adapting in her Retail is king: How small cannabis businesses are surviving the plunging marijuana prices article. WBJ Correspondent Livia Gershon in her Cannabis comes of age: Five years in, regulators face a new set of issues feature examines how the industry and regulators are looking toward the future, trying to solve the racial inequity in the industry and looking at the next stage of businesses, such as cannabis cafes where public, social consumption is legal.

Looking further into the future, I’d love to see the stigma around the marijuana industry entirely dissipate: Dispensaries would be as common as liquor stores, discussion around cannabis use would be as tolerated as drinking wine, and cannabis cafes would dot the landscape as bars do now. Perhaps, though, they should have more creative food menus, as I get intense and odd cravings when I’m high. Pizza, cake, and grilled cheese, anyone?

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