The Future of Craft Cannabis Cooperatives

Written by Heather Ritchie

The concept of craft cooperative growing is the answer to the problem that Cannabis growers have in achieving their rightful place in the industry and in response to laws and regulations in each state as they legitimize the professional cannabis industry. An article by Peter Bernard discusses co-ops in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the role play in legitimizing the industry and giving consumers the best product. “The Massachusetts Grower Advocacy Council believes this is the future of cannabis, and that the cooperative holds the potential to developing a strong and healthy industry in this state.” The craft co-op, essentially, is a Cannabis cultivator made up of residents of the state and classified as a limited liability partnership, company or a business structured appropriately as determined by the state.

Local growers and activists in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts formed a craft Cannabis co-op named Farm Bug Co-op, under the licensing category included in the finalized laws and regulations voted on by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC). Many small growers love the co-op because it represents excellent, creative craft product and conjures visions of people working on their own land doing their part in the cannabis industry by producing the best quality crops. Helping agriculture, in general, is the endgame and the Farm Bug Co-op hopes their business model is a guide for others.


Crafting growth cooperatives are of the utmost importance so that small business growers have a path to legitimacy through a pool of resources. This is especially vital in areas disparaged by the unsuccessful War on Drugs. With so many costs associated with opening legal medical dispensaries, the common person can’t compete. Limited grow co-ops are less expensive and make high quality, craft strains publicly available.

As a result of past laws against medical and recreational Cannabis, the industry struggles to legitimize and separate itself from illicit drugs and the criminal activity associated with it. Marty Dagoberto, the policy director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Massachusetts (NOFA Mass), stated that he hoped craft Cannabis co-ops would establish a brand identity that people seek and that it benefits the farmers.

Quality Cannabis on a Smaller Scale

Many Cannabis connoisseurs think that commercially grown products lack quality and brand them like merchandise found at a discount store. Real innovation comes from small craft growers and these institutions are where new cultivars are developed by ingenious individuals. Small craft Cannabis growers invest care and attention into all that they do to ensure that their product is the best and safest possible.

While these growers don’t have the money to compete with large-scale businesses and grow operations, there is still room for craft cultivators alongside commercial grows.  They have the chance to flourish as long as the playing field is level. After all, small boutique operations are a significant part of why the market exists in the first place.

The best results come from those businesses with passionate owners’ intent on producing the best crop possible. Massachusetts is not alone in believing that this is the future of Cannabis. Many states agree that the future of Cannabis lies with the boutique cooperatives that strive to fulfill the public’s wish for cleaner, more concentrated products.

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Heather Ritchie

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