As the use of cannabis finally emerges from the dark shadows it was consigned to for so many years, many in the industry are focused on removing the stigma of its use. Decades of repressive messaging and laws, along with untold broken lives due to incarceration, have left a mark that will require years to erase. Luckily, many in our emerging cannabis culture are working to effect change.
One of those is the newly opened Trade Roots in Wareham, the gateway to Cape Cod. By obtaining separate licenses to grow, sell, and manufacture cannabis products, Trade Roots became the first company to open a vertically-integrated cannabis business under the state’s Social Equity Program (SEP), designed to help prospective cannabis companies run by individuals who were disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs.
For co-founder Jesse Pitts, the chance to own a cannabis company offers redemption that was a long time coming. In 2007, Pitts was arrested for dealing marijuana, spent nine months in prison, did 500 hours of community service, and dealt with five years of probation. The conviction loomed over him.
“This was an opportunity to legitimize the cannabis industry, an opportunity to look ahead instead of over my shoulder, an opportunity to prove my moral compass was accurate all along,” says Pitts.
One of the main focuses at Trade Roots is to make buying cannabis fun, not something that takes place in dark corners and quiet rooms. They imported an innovation from the West Coast, the first show flower room east of Michigan, to accomplish that. Customers can look into an active grow room and see Trade Roots cannabis thriving before their eyes. All the while their diverse and friendly budtenders present the latest harvested wares.
Another way that Pitts and his partner, Carl Giannone, are making a difference is through continual community outreach. They recently launched a seminar series for SEP participants and aspiring members, designed to address issues new cannabis business owners need to know before leaping into the industry. One step at a time, things are changing.