Wareham, marijuana manufacturer OK deal worth nearly $500,000 annually

Feb 5, 2019

Wareham will see more “green” from a Colorado-based marijuana company after Selectmen approved a deal worth hundreds of thousands of dollars Tuesday night.

Organa Brands is set to open a processing and manufacturing plant in the town-owned Tremont Nail Factory District later this year. Selectmen unanimously approved an agreement where Organa Brands will pay the town $184,000 in rent annually and up to $300,000 each year. The latter figure is tied to how much business the company does, capped at $300,000.

Rent is designated for an account set aside to improve historic buildings in the district, which dates back to the early 1800s.

Town Administrator Derek Sullivan noted Organa Brands is also slated to renovate the steel building. Built in the 1970s, the warehouse is the newest building on the 7.2-acre property, which was purchased in 2014 using Community Preservation Funds. The act is a Massachusetts state law which allows participating cities and towns to adopt a real estate tax surcharge, supplemented by state matching funds, in order to fund community projects in several different areas, including historic preservation. 

The renovation is required due to the presence of mold in the building.

“Mold is the death of these marijuana operations,” said Selectman Peter Teitelbaum. “They will be removing the entire skin of the building.”

Sullivan added that the renovation is worth a quarter of a million dollars that Organa Brands will fully fund.

“Essentially, we’re getting a new building,” said Teitelbaum.

Before learning about the renovation, Selectman Patrick Tropeano raised concerns about capping town revenues at $300,000. Under state law, cities and towns may charge up to 3 percent of a marijuana company’s revenue each year. 

“Say they get up to $10 million,” said Tropeano. “That’s $600,000.”

Sullivan said the agreement was a “very good and fair package.”

After learning the details, Tropeano agreed.

“As long as it’s a good deal that’s OK with me,” said Tropeano. “I didn’t want us to miss out on the money.”