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Hearings Set This Week for Proposed Fitchburg Pot Shop

February 12, 2019
25 Newport St. in Fitchburg is the site of a recreational marijuana cultivator and product manufacturer proposed by The Hub Culture LLC. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE/JOHN LOVE Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

FITCHBURG -- The California-based team that wanted to set up a recreational marijuana cultivation and product manufacturing facility thought The Golden State was getting too competitive to start a business, so it looked east and found Fitchburg.

“It’s a better environment to be in when you’ve got a captive audience,” said Brian Arandez, a principal who is helping to set up the business who is based in Irvine. “We like the way people feel about (the industry) in Fitchburg.”

The Hub Culture, LLC -- which was established as a Massachusetts limited liability company -- is proposing a recreational grow and product facility at 25 Newport St., which is off of Airport Road.

Members from the team had been working as consultants in California to help other marijuana facilities set up, Arandez said. They were put in contact with people in Fitchburg and started learning more about the recreational marijuana industry in Massachusetts.

The city could be the place for The Hub Culture to stand out, he said, because many of the cultivation facilities proposed in the city would be to support their own retail shops.

“It allows us to focus on the growing instead of competing with others,” Arandez said.

Representatives from the corporation, including CEO Howard Tanyu, will be in the city today for a Planning Board public hearing for site plan review and a Wednesday community outreach meeting 6:30 p.m. at 25 Newport St.

A community outreach meeting is one of the first steps for a marijuana business to obtain licensing from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission, which oversees the industry.

Arandez said the business is working on its application to submit to the commission.

Getting a community host agreement with the city is another step the business would need to gain state approval and be able to operate.

The Hub Culture would lease the 55,000-square-foot building on Newport Street from the real estate company that purchased it, Arandez said.

ROI Industries currently occupies the building.

The direction investors want to go in will determine how the project would proceed -- in phases or all at once -- and whether ROI would remain in the building, Arandez said.

Most of the interior would need to be gutted and there would need to be landscaping outside, he said.

The Hub Culture already has a product manufacturing facility being built in California, he said, making the proposed facility in Fitchburg the second that the company would set up on its own.

In other recreational marijuana business news, Artcan, one of the city’s medical marijuana cultivators, was approved for a provisional grow license from the Cannabis Control Commission last Thursday.

It joins the other two operating cultivation facilities -- Garden Remedies and Revolutionary Clinics -- that have sought licensing to expand to growing for recreational use.

Follow Mina on Twitter @mlcorpuz

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