Conway couple wants to start craft marijuana cooperative

  • Marijuana AP Photo/Marina Riker

Staff Writer
Published: 3/7/2019 6:12:26 PM

CONWAY — Another married couple interested in growing marijuana on their property went before the Selectboard this week to explain their plans.

John Moore and Lisa Gustavsen of Roaring Glen Farms LLC want to start a craft marijuana cooperative at 40 Whately Glen Road, believing it will help enrich Conway’s agricultural history and culture. Their appointment with the Selectboard in the Town Offices was expedited due to members’ desire to attend the annual citizens caucus across the street at Town Hall. Moore explained he and Gustavsen will be back in front of the Selectboard after its members review the information they presented.

Gustavsen said the plan is to cultivate marijuana on a 3-acre lot on their 60-acre property. They are applying for a permit that includes everything except retail although Moore said there is also no interest in manufacturing. The state Cannabis Control Commission defines a craft marijuana cooperative as “a type of Marijuana Cultivator which may cultivate, obtain, manufacture, process, package and brand marijuana and marijuana products to deliver marijuana to Marijuana Establishments, but not to consumers.”

During her presentation, Gustavsen said their location complies with the legally required 500-foot buffer from public or private schools. She also said there would be a 24-hour presence at the cultivation site when the crop presents a potential or has economic value. Moore explained this is generally the final six weeks of the plant’s life. Gustavsen said the operation would utilize locked storage during processing.

The cultivation, Gustavsen explained, would be at least 1,000 feet from the closest residence and out of the line of sight from roadways and neighbors. Also, harvesting would generate no atypical sound or light pollution, she said.

Moore said he and his wife want to start small, with 200 to 250 plants.

After the meeting, Gustavsen said the legalization of non-medical marijuana is a really interesting opportunity for Massachusetts.

“There are so many farmers who are having to leave their farms, they can’t make a living,” she said. “And this doesn’t require the electricity and the water that urban greenhouses may require.”

“This could be a magic bullet for all the abandoned farms and dairy farms in the western part of the state,” Moore chimed in.

Conway once had 12 dairy farms; one still exists.

Moore, a military veteran, said he wants to employ his fellow former service members. He also said his family has been farming in Massachusetts for five generations. He has 25 years of experience, most recently growing hybrid black walnuts in Amherst.

Philip E. Bowden, who with his wife, Sean Leah Bowden, is also interested in starting a marijuana cultivation and manufacturing establishment on their property at 1230 Main Poland Road, was in attendance Monday in a sign of solidarity with Moore and Gustavsen. 

“We’re supporting each other. We identify as farmers,” Bowden said. “I’m starting out as a farmer, and he’s a more experienced farmer.”

“Old dude,” Moore said pointing to himself, before pointing at Bowden, “young dude.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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