ATTLEBORO — By a 3-1 vote, the state Cannabis Control Commission on Monday cleared the way for marijuana retailers to expand their operations into home delivery.
And Attleboro’s Nova Farms is one of the retailers that plans to do so, but it won’t happen overnight, CEO Derek Ross said.
He said there are licensing requirements to be met at the state and local levels.
In addition he must choose a delivery company with which to partner.
Ross said the delivery operation will run as a joint venture with another company that has met certain state requirements.
He has a couple of firms in mind, but has yet to make a choice.
“We’re going to be doing it for sure,” Ross said Monday afternoon. “It will add a significant amount of value to our company.”
And in the time of coronavirus, it will be a safer option for his customers, he said.
Meanwhile, Nova Farms was awarded a state license to manufacture marijuana products last week.
The new license allows the company to get that operation underway at its 34 Extension St. site, where it currently runs its retail store.
The company was near bankruptcy when it was finally allowed to open in May after going through years of licensing requirements.
It was scheduled to open in March, but the pandemic hit and its opening was delayed by the state, which shut down “nonessential” businesses.
However, since opening Nova Farms has blossomed, Ross said.
“We were at the bottom of the tank (money-wise), he said. “But it’s been all positive since.”
The company had about 60 employees when it first opened but has increased that number to about 172, Ross said.
The employees work in Attleboro and at the company’s outdoor marijuana farm in the Berkshires town of Sheffield.
Ross said the company intends to build greenhouses at the farm next year so that marijuana can be grown year-round.
He expects a second retail shop to open in Framingham after the first of the year and when that happens the employee count will top 200.
Ross said his company has provided good jobs for a number of people who were left unemployed by the pandemic.
But with the surge of new coronavirus cases, Ross is a little concerned about what the state will do.
“We’re hoping the state government will allow us to stay open,” he said. “Marijuana is better alternative than alcohol.”
It would be good for the Attleboro, too, financially.
Ross said the first Nova Farms host community payment is due 90 days after the first of the year and it could be in the vicinity of $750,000.
“It will be a big number for sure,” Ross said.
And the company could pay it early, which would be welcomed by the city. Its state aid was cut by about $2 million for the current fiscal year.
The cut forced scrimping to make ends meet.
“Maybe we’ll give the city a Christmas present,” Ross said.