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April 16, 2024

Nine cannabis firms in Central Mass. receive $430K from first Social Equity Trust Fund grants

A customer and a cashier stand at a retail counter inside a cannabis dispensary. Photo | Courtesy of Major Bloom Major Bloom, a cannabis business in Worcester

Just as cannabis businesses are gearing up for the holiday known as 4/20, an unofficial celebration of marijuana where dispensaries see some of their largest crowds of the year, nine companies in Central Massachusetts received $430,000 from the first grants from the Massachusetts Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund.

This fund is designed to give a boost to businesses operated by people from communities the state has determined were disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement. The fund was created by lawmakers in 2022 and is administered by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Economic Development, in cooperation with the Cannabis Social Equity Advisory Board created to help dole out the funds.

The trust fund is funded by a combination of private donations and funds appropriated from the state’s Marijuana Regulation Fund, which is made up of monies received from the state’s cannabis tax, business licensing fees, and penalties paid by cannabis companies for violations of state regulations.

In total, 50 grants were awarded to businesses in 28 communities across the state, totaling $2.35 million. 

“Our administration is committed to righting historic wrongs from the War on Drugs, both by addressing inequities in the criminal justice system and by advancing equity in the cannabis industry. With the Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund, we’re creating a sustainable and inclusive path to the industry for Massachusetts entrepreneurs that have faced barriers to entry,” Gov. Maura Healey said in a Wednesday press release announcing the grants. “This funding will fill critical gaps necessary to allow social equity businesses to grow and succeed here in Massachusetts." 

The nine Central Massachusetts grant awardees were awarded a total of $430,000. These grantees included:

  • Apple Guy Flowers, a prospective cultivation business in Uxbridge ($50,000)
  • Delivered, Inc, a cannabis delivery company in Clinton serving a number of Central Massachusetts communities. ($30,000)
  • Dris Corp., a cannabis delivery company with operations in Natick ($50,000)
  • KindRun Massachusetts, a cannabis delivery company in Hudson serving communities in the Greater Boston area ($50,000)
  • Major Bloom, a dispensary in Worcester offering delivery services ($50,000)
  • New Dia, a Worcester dispensary operating under the Cookies brand, a national cannabis retail brand started by the California-born rapper Berner ($50,000)
  • Teddy's Veggie Farm, a prospective cannabis cultivation and delivery business in Spencer seeking to open a location in Worcester ($50,000)
  • Treevit, a cannabis delivery company based in Athol participating in wholesale shipments and as a delivery provider for dispensaries in Eastern Massachusetts ($50,000)
  • Uproot, a Worcester-based cannabis cultivator planning on launching delivery services ($50,000)

These funds were part of the state’s Immediate Needs Grant Program, which was launched in January as a means to support eligible companies with urgent financial needs.

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