A Central Massachusetts farmer is embroiled in a bitter fight with the local community over plans to sell his property for construction of a $100 million marijuana cultivation facility.
Nathan Benjamin Jr. lost his barn and winery, located in the town of Charlton, to a fire three years ago and has since turned to the cannabis industry, according to The Boston Globe.
Benjamin plans to sell his property to Valley Green Grow, which wants to build a 1 million-square-foot cannabis processing and cultivation operation that carries a $100 million price tag.
According to the Globe, the Charlton facility would be home to five smaller licensed recreational and medical marijuana businesses that would be tenants on the property.
Earlier this year, Valley Green Grow was defeated in its bid to set up a similar operation in North Andover, according to the newspaper.
Valley Green Grow signed a contract with the town of Charlton but hasn’t received a license from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission or approval from the town’s planning board.
Massachusetts’ recreational cannabis market is expected to be robust once it gets up and running. Regulators have widely missed the proposed start date of July 1, and it remains unclear when sales will begin.
Here’s what you need to know:
- The facility would have six greenhouses and its own gas-fired power plant.
- Valley Green Grow claims the facility will generate up to $7 million a year for the town of Charlton.
- Neighbors are opposed to the facility, saying the industrial-type operation shouldn’t be allowed on agricultural land. Opponents also say the facility would lower the value of nearby property.
- The fight has resulted in several lawsuits and other quarrels, including residents suing the town for allegedly skirting the state’s open-meeting law.