Trade Roots Launches New Website

Welcome to the new Trade Roots website! As Trade Roots is readying to open its dispensary a new website has launched to provide a superior shopping experience for customers that want to order online for rapid pickup in store. Educate yourself about our menu before you come to the store. Our website does not take online payment, so be prepared to peruse the menu, add items to your cart and check out with the intent of picking up and paying a the dispensary. The website also showcases the quality products Trade Roots is coming out with. Flower, Concentrates, Vapes with a few more in the works. Sing up for a Trade Secrets newsletter to get notifications of new product drops, special events.


Trade Roots Cannabis Company Secures $4.9 Million in Series A Funding

WAREHAM, Mass.Oct. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- LDE Holdings, LLC ( "Trade Roots"), a Massachusetts-based adult-use craft cannabis company, today announced it has closed $4.9 million in Series A round financing.

The Series A round was funded nearly entirely by local investors, aligned with Trade Roots' mission of serving as a locally-owned, operated, and staffed business providing the highest-quality products to Massachusetts residents. Proceeds from the financing will be used to complete the development of Trade Roots' vertically integrated 16,000-square-foot facility in Wareham, and to advance preparations for a planned opening to the public in the second quarter of 2021.

"We're very pleased with the response we received from our offering, a key milestone in our development plan and one that positions Trade Roots for a momentous 2021," Trade Roots Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer Jesse Pitts said. "I couldn't be more proud of our team's hard work in building a best-in-class operation and establishing Trade Roots as a key contributor to my hometown's vitality and economic development."

Hiring, with a preference for local candidates, is underway for cultivation and extraction positions. Trade Roots is a Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission-designated Social Equity Program Participant, and, consistent with its Host Community Agreement, will pay 3 percent of its sales receipts to the Town of Wareham. In June 2018, Trade Roots received one of three Host Community Agreements from the Town to open an adult-use retail store.

"Successfully closing the Series A funding round is a testament to the strength of both Trade Roots' go-to-market strategy and its growth potential," Greg Wirsen, lead Series A investor and a member of the Trade Roots Board of Directors, said. "I'm impressed by the great strides the management team continues to make in driving and executing against the project plan, and I believe Trade Roots has a very bright future."

Trade Roots expects to begin cultivation and extraction work in the first quarter of 2021 following an extensive renovation and modernization of its multi-use site, located at 6 Thatcher Lane, in the Wareham Industrial Park adjacent to Interstate 195.

"Trade Roots wouldn't be possible without the tremendous belief and encouragement our investors have shown Jesse and me, and which they continue to demonstrate as we build Trade Roots into a business we can all be proud of," Trade Roots Cofounder and President Carl Giannone said. "We're so grateful for their support, and we can't wait to open our doors."

"As a Newton native, I'm thrilled to be part of the growing Massachusetts cannabis industry," Liz Wald, chief executive officer of Good Earth Organics and a former Etsy and Indiegogo senior leader who led the firms' international expansions, said.  "Jesse and Carl are dedicated to making Trade Roots a premier consumer destination, as well as an efficient and profitable cultivation, manufacturing, and retail operation. As a Trade Roots investor, I couldn't be more pleased."

Foley Hoag LLP advised Trade Roots in support of the transaction.

About Trade Roots
As an artisanal purveyor of "Craft Cannabis at The Gateway to Cape Cod," Wareham-based Trade Roots is a locally-owned, operated, and staffed business providing the highest-quality adult-use cannabis and cannabis products to Massachusetts residents. Trade Roots is a Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission-designated Social Equity Program Participant committed to driving positive impact and economic growth in its host community. Trade Roots will offer an extensive selection of locally produced, sourced and curated products in a beachtown boutique environment.



Cannabis grower Trade Roots to open retail and grow store in Wareham

Dried cannabis flowers can be seen in the background as Karl St. John, director of cultivation, weighs and catalogues the plants before they are made into various products at the new Trade Roots in Wareham.


A cannabis plant grows at the new Trade Roots in Wareham, which is the first Social Equity Program participant in the state with licenses for retail, cultivation, and manufacturing.


Director of cultivation Karl St. John inspects, weighs and catalogues the dried cannabis plants ready for manufacture at the new Trade Roots in Wareham, which is the first Social Equity Program participant in the state with licenses for retail, cultivation, and manufacturing.


Detail photo of the flower of a cannabis plant being grown at the new Trade Roots in Wareham, which is the first Social Equity Program participant in the state with licenses for retail, cultivation, and manufacturing.


Co-owner Carl Giannone lifts the screens to the windows that display the cannabis flower room as seen from the retail show floor at the new Trade Roots in Wareham.

CarlAdjustingRetailCultivationWindowBlindsTrade Roots co-owners Jesse Pitts and Carl Giannone enjoy a light moment standing in front of the glass displaying the numerous cannabis plants growing at the new facility in Wareham. Trade Roots is the first Social Equity Program participant in the state with licenses for retail, cultivation, and manufacturing.


A grower walks past the vast number of cannabis plants being cultivated at the new Trade Roots in Wareham.


Jesse Pitts, co-owner of Trade Roots, looks at the room where cannabis is being cultivated at the Wareham facility. Trade Roots is the first Social Equity Program participant in the state with licenses for retail, cultivation, and manufacturing.


Director of cultivation Karl St. John inspects, weighs, and catalogues the dried cannabis plants ready for manufacture of various products at the new Trade Roots in Wareham.

Co-owners Jesse Pitts and Carl Giannone standing in front of the glass displaying the numerous cannabis plants growing at the new Trade Roots in Wareham.


Adam Pitts hangs freshly harvested cannabis plants on a rack to dry at the new Trade Roots in Wareham, which is the first Social Equity Program participant in the state with licenses for retail, cultivation, and manufacturing.


Trade Roots co-owners Jesse Pitts, left, and Carl Giannone stand in front of the sign outside of the Wareham cannabis facility.





Wareham, Mass-Based Trade Roots Cannabis Operation Expected to Open Doors in Summer 2019

WAREHAM, Mass.Jan. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- LDE Holdings, LLC ("Trade Roots") today was granted a provisional state license to cultivate adult-use cannabis by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (while awaiting review of their retail and manufacturing applications).

Trade Roots, expected to begin operating this summer, intends to employ more than 40 local residents once the business is running at full capacity at their 16,000-square-foot facility at 6 Thatcher Lane in the Wareham Industrial Park. In June 2018, Trade Roots received one of three Host Community Agreements to sell cannabis by the town of Wareham.

"We're thrilled by the opportunity to establish a locally-owned, operated, and staffed business that will provide the highest-quality products to citizens from across the state," said Trade Roots Chief Executive Officer Jesse Pitts. "As a Wareham native, I'm committed to supporting economic development and job creation in my hometown, growing our local and state economy and cultivating a range of customer-focused products within an operation my neighbors and my community will be proud to host."

Trade Roots will offer customers craft cannabis products in a beachtown boutique retail environment.  "We're putting tremendous thought and care into creating a wonderful customer experience alongside a competitively-priced product of the highest quality," Trade Roots President Carl Giannone said.  "We are honored by the responsibility entrusted in Trade Roots by the CCC and we fully intend to deliver on those high expectations, setting the standard for a true craft cannabis operation in the Bay State by and for Massachusetts residents."

Consistent with its Host Community Agreement, 3% of Trade Roots sales receipts will be paid to the town.

"We're committed to the town of Wareham and can't wait to introduce ourselves and positively impact our community," Pitts said.




Three cannabis companies get licenses from state

The state Cannabis Control Commission last week issued licenses to three Wareham marijuana businesses.

At the Cannabis Control Commission’s Jan. 20 meeting, Trade Roots received a final retail license. Delivery company Doobie received a provisional license, as did Aspen Blue, the company planning to manufacture cannabis products in the steel building at the old Tremont Nail Factory.

Trade Roots now has its final license, which means the company can start moving its inventory into the retail space at 6 Thatcher Lane in the Kendrick Road industrial park. After one final state inspection, the business will be cleared to open.

Carl Giannone and Jesse Pitts, the company’s co-owners, said they expect the dispensary will be open by the end of February.

Over recent months, the company has been growing and processing cannabis into a variety of concentrates.

Visitors to Trade Roots will be able to get a peek behind the curtain, as it were, through a window from the dispensary into one of the grow rooms.

“To me, that’s the true highlight of the retail space,” said Pitts. Visitors will be able to see the plants throughout their life-cycle.

“Over the last few months, we’ve really been building an inventory of our own,” said the Wareham native. Pitts explained that through Trade Root’s concentrate collaborations, the company has built partnerships with many producers across the state.

In December, one of Trade Roots’ extracts was named the concentrate of the month by Northeast Leaf, an industry publication. The extract was made from cannabis grown by Good Chemistry — one of many partnerships with other local cannabis growers.

The dispensary will feature about half Trade Roots products and half products from other producers.

“We’re going to have the best selection in the area,” Giannone said. “Anything good in the state will be on our shelves.”

Giannone said that Trade Roots has hired a great retail team and worked collaboratively to create the space.

Pitts and Giannone also hope to make the retail experience better for customers. At many dispensaries, customers are given a paper menu with limited information about products — strain, price, and total cannabinoid content. Customers can’t see or smell the product before buying it. With so little information, Giannone said, people often buy what seems to be the best bargain: the highest cannabinoid level for the lowest price.

But that means they might be missing out on products they would enjoy.

Pitts said that being able to see the product is important to him. Customers will be able to see both concentrates and flower in special displays called “bud pods.” Retail staff will focus on consumer education.

Pitts and Giannone said that they have a hyper-local focus, and want to cater to local consumers — and thanked people for their patience.

Aspen Blue, the Rhode Island-based company that will be operating out of the steel building at the old Tremont Nail Factory, received a provisional license. That means they can start construction on the inside of the building to convert it into a manufacturing facility.

The company, which operates retail dispensaries under the name Terps, has several other locations in the works: cultivation in Mashpee; retail, manufacturing, and cultivation in Attleboro; and manufacturing and cultivation in Charlton. The Terps dispensary in Wellfleet is open now.

Matthew Wilkes, the company’s chief business officer, said that construction is expected to start in a few weeks and wrap up by the end of the summer. He said he hopes to receive a final license about three months after finishing construction.

“I think Massachusetts has the best market in the country,” Wilkes said.

Once open, the facility will manufacture edibles and gummies — plus some more unique products, Wilkes said.

“We have a couple of products that I’m really excited about that I haven’t seen anywhere on the market,” Wilkes said.

Doobie, a delivery company, also received a provisional license. The company’s delivery operation will be headquartered at the town-owned building at 4 Recovery Rd., also in the Kendrick Road industrial park. No sales will take place on-site. The company plans to cultivate and manufacture cannabis products in the future.

There are several other cannabis businesses already open in town.

Verilife, on Main Street, has been open for several years. The town’s third marijuana retailer, Nature’s Medicines, is located on Cranberry Highway in the old Sears appliance store, and is marked with “Coming Soon” banners as it awaits a final retail license.

Coast Cannabis, a manufacturer on Cranberry Highway in the Pizza Boy plaza, manufactures organic edibles and concentrates.

Coastal Cultivars, located on Patterson Brook Road, grows cannabis outdoors.

Other companies are still working through the Cannabis Control Commission’s regulatory processes.




Trade Roots Secures Final Retail License and Announces Management Restructuring Ahead of Store Opening

WAREHAM, Mass.Jan. 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission awards Trade Roots a final retail license to go along with Trade Roots' final cultivation and product manufacturing licenses
  • Adds two executive officers to further Trade Roots' growth and achievement of strategic objectives

Final Licenses

LDE Holdings, LLC (d/b/a Trade Roots) ("Trade Roots"), a vertically-integrated Massachusetts-based adult-use craft cannabis company, today announced the appointment of two executive officers ahead of its much anticipated retail store opening.

On January 20, 2022, Trade Roots was awarded a final license for retail operations by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (the "CCC"). With this license, Trade Roots becomes the first Massachusetts Social Equity Program participant to obtain final licensure in all three categories: cultivation, product manufacturing and retail.

Trade Roots' commencement of retail operations is subject to a Post-Final License Inspection by the CCC and satisfaction of certain final license conditions.

This is the final step in bringing Trade Roots' founders Jesse Pitts and Carl Giannone's vision to life.  "It's a dream come true to be able to bring high quality, legal cannabis to the place where I grew up and where the community has been so supportive of our efforts," said Mr. Pitts, a Wareham native. He added, "We're also extremely proud to achieve these successes as a Social Equity Program participant and are excited to continue to support the Program's goals of inclusion in the industry."

Trade Roots' highly acclaimed concentrate products, including Northeast Leaf's "Concentrate of the Month" for November, "LSD x Lemon Skunk wax" are currently available in 30 storefronts throughout The Commonwealth. Sold under its Captain's Reserve brand, Trade Roots produces ultra-high quality, small batch cannabis extractions.  Trade Roots branded craft cannabis flower will be available primarily at Trade Roots' retail store located at Six Thatcher Lane in Wareham.

Management Restructuring

With the anticipated launch of the store, growth in personnel and continued streamlining of operations, Trade Roots' Board of Managers approved a corporate restructuring that it believes best utilizes the company's talent to execute its strategic vision. Key to this restructuring is the addition of two executive officers from Trade Roots' existing team, Roger Williamson as Chief Operating Officer and Ilya Ross as Vice President – Corporate Development and Legal. These appointments are subject to and conditioned upon approval by the CCC via a Change-of-Ownership-and-Control application.

Mr. Williamson is currently the Trade Roots Director of Sales, where he has spearheaded relationship-building with valued wholesale partners. Prior to joining Trade Roots, Mr. Williamson was a Key Accounts Manager for Crocs, Inc. for over 10 years. "Working in the cannabis industry has been the most challenging and rewarding part of my career.  A passion for the plant combined with incredible people is continuously driving innovation in cannabis. I am proud to be a part of it," said Mr. Williamson.

Mr. Ross is currently the Company's General Counsel and Compliance Officer. He has helped guide Trade Roots through final licensing and launch of operations. Before joining Trade Roots, Mr. Ross was Counsel at Vicente Sederberg LLP, a national cannabis law firm, where he oversaw and structured some of the first multi-state cannabis acquisition transactions as Chair of the corporate group of the firm's Massachusetts office. Prior to then, Mr. Ross was a capital markets attorney for over a decade at several New York-based firms.

As part of the restructuring, Mr. Giannone will also step into new roles as Executive Chairman of the Board of Managers and Chief Strategy Officer. "In these dual roles, I endeavor to assist the Company in further aligning its daily operations with our overall strategic vision," said Mr. Giannone. He added, "I'm confident that our new management team's experience and passion for our company's mission will take us to an exciting new phase of our corporate life cycle."

Mr. Pitts will continue to serve as the Company's Chief Executive Officer.

About Trade Roots

As an artisanal purveyor of "Craft Cannabis at The Gateway to Cape Cod," Wareham-based Trade Roots is a locally-owned, operated, and staffed business providing the highest-quality adult-use cannabis and cannabis products to Massachusetts residents. Trade Roots is a Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission-designated Social Equity Program Participant committed to driving positive impact and economic growth in its host community. Trade Roots will offer an extensive selection of locally produced, sourced and curated products in a beachtown boutique environment.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking information and forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws ("Forward-Looking Statements"). Forward-Looking Statements are based on certain expectations and assumptions and are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events, results, performance and achievements to differ materially from those anticipated in these Forward-Looking Statements.

Forward-Looking Statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these Forward-Looking Statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation, except to the extent required by law, to update or revise any Forward-Looking Statements as a result of new information or future events, or for any other reason.





Trade Roots to begin cultivating, manufacturing cannabis

After nearly four years, the owners of Trade Roots will soon be able to begin cultivating and manufacturing marijuana products, and they hope to open the retail side of the business later this summer.

The company, co-owned by Wareham native Jesse Pitts and Carl Giannone, will eventually grow, manufacture, and sell marijuana products on site — and home-delivery is in the works, too. Trade Roots has received final approval of their cultivation and manufacturing licenses, while the retail and delivery licenses are still being processed by the Cannabis Control Commission.

The pair have extensively renovated their 6 Thatcher Ln. location to house several grow rooms, a lab and a retail store that Giannone said he hopes will be somewhere customers will be excited to visit.

At the heart of the company, the two explained, is a dedication to craft.

Pitts defined craft as “doing all the right things, no matter who sees it.”


Pitts said he has worked to figure out what can be automated, and which steps in the process require a human touch. While the process of watering plants is automated, for example, employees will check plants and systems regularly to make sure everything is functioning correctly.

Those careful checks, Pitts explained, are the most important part of cannabis cultivation. Employees will regularly spend time “scouting” the grow rooms: taking a careful look at each plant to see whether it’s healthy, how it’s growing or if any adjustments need to be made.

Employees will also spot-check to make sure that the systems in place are doing what they are supposed to do: Are the plants getting the right amount of water and nutrients? What is the humidity level?

Trade Roots will be recycling about 80 percent of the water used for irrigation, an eco-friendly and cost-saving measure Pitts said is rare in the cannabis industry.

Pitts and Giannone worked with other companies to create a system that collects water from condensation, the HVAC system, rainwater and other sources before purifying the water with ozone. The only byproduct of that purification is a small amount of hydrogen peroxide, which evaporates almost immediately.

From there, the water is filtered further before nutrients are added back in to help the plants grow.


Once plants have grown and dried, the flower will be hand-trimmed and some will be processed to create other products. Trade Roots will likely manufacture predominately extracts for vape cartridges and hydrocarbon extracts, known as dabs.”

Giannone and Pitts said they are particularly excited to get into cross-branding, which is a relatively new practice for the Massachusetts cannabis industry. That means they could take high-quality flower from small craft growers and manufacture vapes or hydrocarbon extracts which would be sold under both names.

Giannone said that would allow Trade Roots to get a variety of high-quality products on the dispensary’s shelves and would be an avenue for small growers to get involved in making a variety of products.

He said the idea is to sell cannabis that is “grown in Mass., not en masse.”


Giannone is particularly focused on the experience people will have when the dispensary opens — hopefully later in the summer, pending final retail licensure.

“We want to make retail not suck,” Giannone said.

From the backlit sign that will be visible on the highway to the sound system in the waiting room, Giannone has carefully curated the experience visitors will have.

One particularly unusual feature is a huge picture window in the dispensary that allows visitors to see an active grow room — the only open flower grow room east of Michigan, Giannone said.

Giannone, who moved to Wareham from New York City, said he loves living here, and that he’s been surprised by how welcoming and supportive the community has been.

The design of the dispensary is full of nods to the locale: Wall art will include driftwood adorned with scrimshaw carving and large oil paintings of ocean scenes, commissioned from a local artist.

“It has taken a village,” Giannone said.

Trade Roots’ dispensary will likely open later in the summer, as the company’s retail license is still in process. Pitts is also the majority owner of Trade Winds, a courier company that would deliver products purchased from Trade Roots to customer’s homes. The license for that company is also in process.




Wareham’s Trade Roots cutting-edge cannabis facility nears opening

WAREHAM – Look at the oil industry, Trade Roots’ Carl Giannone says as he leads a tour through the 16,600-square-foot, cutting-edge cannabis facility on track to open in March at 6 Thatcher Lane with Wareham partner Jesse Pitts.

You have the people who prospect - dig and drill - and then you have the companies that refine. Then you have the companies that retail.

“We have all three. We have retail, then we also have the refining part, and we also have the growing part,” he said.

That’s important to understand as you tour the building, which is divided into three components – the front of the house, middle of the house and back of the house.

The front of the house is retail, and will blend fine art on the walls, as well as décor depicting Wareham’s own roots, nautical, and all. That’s to provide a positive customer experience and reinforce the perception that Trade Roots is providing a finely crafted product, like a fine wine.

The back of the house is for cultivating and manufacturing.

The middle is for employees, no retail customers allowed, and includes break room, offices, and conference room.

Only back-of-the-house employees can access that area through a pair of “bio-security doors.”

Pitts said they are hiring an estimated 50 employees between the three different licenses – and a “strong concentration of the local folks.”

He added, “I am a Wareham native, so I joke that a lot of my friends didn’t know their whole life was a job interview.”

Giannone said, “We’re going to be doing B to B (business to business) for probably four to five months before” opening retail at the site.

It’s going to take a few months to actually grow enough product to have on the shelves, but they’ll be able to start processing and contracting to extract for other cultivators and manufacturers.

Once retail is open, the customer will check in at the door, provide ID, and then have the option of window shopping on one side of the retail space or pick up pre-orders on the other. The room will feature an immense window looking into one of the facility’s three “flower” rooms where the plants are budding.

“So you’re going to see plants as you’re standing here. It’s going to be a very cool experience,” Pitts said.

He added their cultivator’s license allows them to have up to 10,000 square feet of canopy. “Right now we have about 7,000 square feet but we also have a special permit to add another building off the back” for added cultivation space in the future.

The science involved in the process at Trade Roots is evident.

There’s one “veg” growing room that supplies the flower rooms.

Growth is staggered so the harvest is perpetual. The veg room plants don’t bud because of the 18 hours of light they receive. It’s always summer for them and they’re always growing. In the flower rooms, the light is reduced and the plants react as if fall is coming and flower or bud.

It’s a perpetual cycle, and the plants are tracked from “seed to sale.”

Cloned plants, snipped from mother plants’ branches (and yes, they’re clones and will grow into a duplicate of the mother plant) feed the growing process. The clones feed the veg room which in turn feeds the flower rooms. The extensive security system helps by keeping track of the plants.

“You tag the clones by batch and once the clone gets eight inches tall you have to tag the individual plant and you track that all the way through its life to sale,” Pitts said.

“So it’s literally seed to sale and part of our security system is a compliance system and helps us make sure that inventory is accounted for and we’re not getting in trouble with the CCC because something went unaccounted for.”

Trade Roots will have two more CCC inspections once it’s issued its certificate of occupancy. Giannone and Pitts estimate those will be completed by March.

And then they’ll be good to grow.

And manufacture.

And retail.




Trade Roots is MA's first social equity cannabis business to obtain three licenses

Jesse Pitts' first brush with business ownership was up-selling penny candy in grade school. When the school got word, it banned his means of income, and instead, set up its own candy store.

Candy turned into marijuana by the eighth grade, and Pitts continued selling it while attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he studied astronomy. The cash flow allowed the Wareham native to keep up with his friends socially, he said, and from there, it "ballooned" to selling large quantities.

In 2007, Pitts was arrested when more than 70 pounds of marijuana and a quarter of a million in cash were seized from the home he was renting. He subsequently spent nine months in prison, followed by a stint with an ankle monitor, 500 hours of community service and five years probation.

"Everything I went through, there was a reason for it," said Pitts. "It's easy now to say that. Then, damn near impossible."

Baking project:This Massachusetts company just baked the world's largest cannabis-infused brownie

Pitts speaks today from his position as co-founder of Wareham marijuana company Trade Roots, the first Social Equity Program participant in the state to become a triple licensee – obtaining licensure for retail sales, cultivation and manufacturing, as confirmed by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.

"We are on cloud nine, as you can imagine," said Pitts' business partner Carl Giannone.

Massachusetts marijuana licensing process

To sell or grow marijuana in Massachusetts, companies must go through robust and lengthy processes with the state's Cannabis Control Commission. Prospective businesses have to establish host community agreements, submit detailed applications and undergo inspections before a chance of opening is even on the horizon.

In the case of Trade Roots, the Wareham company did all of those things for three separate licenses – in order to sell and grow marijuana, as well as manufacture products.

While a small handful of Social Equity Program participants have opened in Massachusetts, Trade Roots is the only one that has been granted all three licenses thus far.

Many non-equity oriented cannabis businesses have been approved for three licenses, according to the CCC's list of applicants and license statuses.

What is the Massachusetts marijuana Social Equity Program?

Massachusetts was the first state in the country to mandate that equity be part of the framework for its legal marijuana market. The state's Social Equity Program offers free training and technical assistance to prospective businesses run by individuals disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs, while a certified economic empowerment status gives priority licensing review to qualifying applicants.

The equity programs seek to break down barriers for people of color, women, veterans and those with marijuana criminal convictions to enter the industry.

Get the facts:5 things to know about buying, consuming legal recreational marijuana in Massachusetts

And yet, the numbers show the Bay State's cannabis industry is still turning out to be largely white and male. Advocates are pushing for the state to put its money where its mouth is, they say, by creating a social equity fund to provide individuals with capital and low-interest loans or grants.

As Massachusetts' adult-use marijuana sales pass $2.6 billion – the excise tax benefits recently outranking that of alcohol – many industry professionals are worried equity-oriented businesses could fall further behind if money isn't allocated towards ensuring a diverse sector, and one that's committed to restorative justice.

Interested in organic cannabis?:The concept is growing across New England

As of November 2021, CCC Director of Government Affairs and Policy Matt Giancola said out of more than 1,000 applications submitted to the CCC, just 232 were from Social Equity Program participants or economic empowerment applicants.

CCC numbers as of August 2021 showed of 104 Social Equity Program participant licenses, including final licenses, seven had opened.

'Validation and vindication'

Pitts qualified for the Social Equity Program because of his prior marijuana conviction. Of Trade Roots' recent licensing accomplishment, he feels "validation and vindication," he said.

It wasn't long ago he tried to dip his foot into the medical marijuana industry, only to be told he couldn't participate because of his criminal record.

Despite being a billion dollar market, the marijuana industry in Massachusetts still faces hurdles

"I served time for this, and (I was) being told I can't partake in this industry because I partook in this industry," Pitts said with a laugh.

He commends the state for its equity efforts thus far, adding, "Is there work to be done? Of course."

He was happy to see an improvement in the licensing process when he recently submitted an application under a different LLC for a marijuana delivery license. "I feel like they fixed some of the things that were hurdles in the beginning. They're trying to resolve some of those."

Pitts added, "There's a lot of sharks, a learning curve, and a lot of bumps on the chin."

Trade Roots' plans for Wareham location as opening nears

Pitts and Giannone's original vision for Trade Roots was "a craft cannabis company at the gateway to Cape Cod" – and that still rings true today.

What customers can expect when they enter the Wareham store is an experience, the business partners said, with an interactive element and "open-kitchen feel."

"Like when you're at a restaurant and the chef comes out and shakes your hand," Pitts said.

Pitts and Giannone originally met in 2017 while traveling out west. To start Trade Roots with Pitts, Giannone moved to Massachusetts from New York City with his girlfriend, a chef who plans to open a dumpling truck that'll serve fare at the marijuana shop.

Take a look:Wareham’s Trade Roots cutting-edge cannabis facility

"I want this to be fun," Giannone said. "We've hired a great team, some with traditional cannabis retail experience and some with traditional retail experience, to create something the customers just want to come to."

Giannone said an opening date is dependent on their final license inspection, but he'd like to be open by Valentine's Day.

"Sometime in February is safe to say."