The largest crop in Massachusetts is no longer cranberries as cannabis takes over

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Massachusetts is finding significantly more success with marijuana cultivation than with cranberries

Each fall, usually from mid-September to mid-November in North America, cranberries reach their peak of color and flavor and are ready for picking. This is essentially true in a state like Massachusetts, where its crops give the country pounds of cranberries. For a long time, this fruit with wonderful properties was considered the main crop in the Bay State. However, cannabis came along to take over the field.

Governor Charlie Baker, for the third year in a row, wanted to support the state’s growers through his declaration of October as “Cranberry Month.” However, with November now on the calendar, recent new research has come to make it clear that there is a new top crop that should be on everyone’s lips.

In 2021, data shared in the State Agricultural Summary indicated that the fruit generated approximately $66 million. While that may seem like a pretty hefty sum, it’s really nothing when it comes to marijuana. According to experts at the Leafly Harvest Report, Massachusetts recreational cannabis is estimated to have a large reach that translates to a value of $362 million.

Gene Ray, a highly experienced pharmaceutical chemist, has been one of the first to take a close look at this booming young market. “Starting here just having three grow rooms now having more than 10 grow rooms now… At Garden Remedies, we’ve been able to see all the plants grow, all the people grow,” said Ray, who is VP of Labs at Garden Remedies.

With only 30 other people working hand-in-hand, Ray remembers when the huge Fitchburg grow site first opened. Now, that number has multiplied to 150 people on site, not counting workers at the three dispensaries and Newton headquarters.

“Where we’ve benefited is we’re able to do everything under one roof and keep supplying all these different stores with as many products as possible,” he said, of the ‘seed to sale’ operation. “We keep pushing the envelope more. The innovation never stops.”