Major marijuana operation seeks to open in Navionics' former headquarters in Wareham

By Matthew Bernat | May 30, 2018
Photo by: Matthew Bernat The former U.S. headquarters of marine chart company Navionics is being eyed by a company looking to grow, process and sell recreational marijuana.

Goodbye marine charts, hello marijuana.

A recreational marijuana grower, processor and retail operation aims to open in a building recently vacated by Navionics, an electronic marine charts company.

The company, Trade Roots/LDE, is the first wave of a “green rush” in Wareham, which includes several businesses seeking the remaining two of three recreational marijuana licenses.

In total, 10 companies have filed applications to either grow, process or sell recreational marijuana in town before sales likely become legal this summer.

Sales of medical marijuana have been allowed in Massachusetts since 2012. In November 2016, a state ballot question passed that paved the way for recreational sales. The state’s Cannabis Control Commission is drafting a framework for the oversight of retail marijuana shops. Those shops are due to open in July, and it is currently legal to possess and grow marijuana for personal use. The town’s moratorium on retail marijuana shops expires June 30.

One long-planned medical marijuana facility has already opened at 112 Main St. Operated by Pharmacannis Massachusetts, the dispensary plans to sell recreational marijuana once it’s legal. Selectmen have already executed a “host agreement” with the dispensary, named Verilife, which grants it a license to sell pending state approval.

On Tuesday, Selectmen approved another host agreement with the Rochester-based Trade Roots/LDE. The vote would allow the business to cultivate, sell and process recreational marijuana at 6 Thatcher Lane, inside the Town of Wareham Industrial Park in West Wareham.

The building housed Navionics until last month, according to Selectman Chair Alan Slavin. The multinational company is based in Italy and just moved its U.S. headquarters from Wareham to New Bedford.

“We couldn’t offer them anything they wanted to stay,” said Slavin. “But this seems to have worked out.”

Ahead of the recreational sales deadline, Wareham held a Special Town Meeting in March. New regulations were adopted that limits the number of recreational sales licenses to three, prohibits stores from opening within 1,500 feet of one another and requires they only open in certain areas.

Director of Planning & Community Development Ken Buckland said the town also set policy guiding how to award the two remaining licenses.

License seekers must submit a comprehensive application, including business plan, letter of interest and other criteria.

Buckland said Trade Roots/LDE’s plans include employing 41 people, bringing in $5.3 million in revenue the first year it opens and $8 million in the second year. The business is set to be located in the 16,000-square-foot space at Thatcher Lane.

“Their business plan is well presented and complete,” said Buckland.

As part of the host agreement, the town would get 3 percent of the gross sales of the facility annually. Buckland said officials do not yet have estimate on how much money the town would receive.

Buckland noted Trade Roots/LDE still must gain approval from the state before opening.

“Who knows what will happen there,” he said.

In addition to Trade Roots/LDE, Selectmen approved host agreements for two other businesses – Evergreen Farms and T. Bear, Inc. Evergreen Farms plans to grow marijuana in a facility on Patterson’s Brook Road while T. Bear, Inc. looks to process recreational marijuana at 3103 Cranberry Highway. Because neither business is looking to sell recreational marijuana, they are not subject to the three license limit.

Selectman Peter Teitelbaum said the three licenses might be increased if demand becomes high enough.

“There’s always an opportunity to revisit the bylaw and increase it,” he said. “That’s something that could happen down the road.”

Selectmen said they wanted time for other companies to submit applications before weighing in on the final license. In addition to Trade Roots/LDE, five businesses have applied for recreational sales licenses.

Comments (10)
Posted by: desertsky | May 30, 2018 06:32

Hmmm..three licenses might be increased if demand becomes HIGH enough...

Posted by: Spherebreaker | May 30, 2018 07:17

With 3% of gross revenues we should get a ton of money just from all the stoners  about to move into the new 40b project and other existing projects. Can they use EBT?

Posted by: Uptohere | May 30, 2018 11:38

The plan calls for 3 and that' what the voters agreed to. See how soon they want to start nudging that number up. NO!! And I dont rememer the number of growers being unlimited? WTF is up with this. Wareham is already a haven for junkies. Let' continue to make our home a pit.

Posted by: WWareham resident | May 30, 2018 18:50

Uptothere I guess we can say that technically  everywhere in MA is unlimited for growers because every one can grow a bunch of their own plants and theremayo or may not be a way for the average Joe can sell their stock to a retailer.

Either way it's coming and we may as well hope for a crap ton of tax revenue tohelp it to be a bit more digestible.

Posted by: Warehamlifer | May 30, 2018 20:17

"We couldn't offer them anything to stay"   losing a well to do business that is world known to a pot factory isn't what I would call "worked out" that is unless one is a recreational pot smoker.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | May 30, 2018 21:37

Lifer-as a boater and one that enjoys marine navigation, I've always been proud  to have Navionics right here in our town. They are a top notch company with outstanding product.  I run their Buzzard's Bay card in my chartplotter and it is the best. I agree, it is sad to see Wareham losing such a company.

Posted by: cranky pants | May 31, 2018 07:20

I'm fairly confident that it will work out. What did Navionics do for the town aside from maybe employing a few residents and paying quarterly taxes ? Did they offer up 3% of it's sales ? Furthermore, where is Navionics moving to, and why are they moving ? Here is an opportunity to generate a bit of moolah for big hats to spend feverishly... Let's just hope all goes as planned.

Posted by: Doctor Deekas | May 31, 2018 09:14

Cranky...Navionics used to supply brand new GPS and marine gear to our Harbormaster Dept, free of charge. Sorry that got lost in the 3% 'smoke' emanating from the empty building. There are many businesses that donate to our Town that aren't covered in a newspaper article as "3%", but they should be covered in newspapers. It's not like there aren't businesses giving back to our community.

Posted by: bob | May 31, 2018 17:05

Gee,I hope the town is charging a fee for Pharmacannis Massachusetts,for the use of Bessie Park......

Posted by: wtbarber | Jun 01, 2018 17:10

I hope the town puts food truck parking in Besse Park : )

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