BOSTON – The Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday approved the sale of New England Treatment Access, which operates a marijuana cultivation facility in Franklin, but not before commissioners raised concerns about the buyer’s track record in Florida.
The vote was unanimous in favor of the sale to Georgia-based Surterra Wellness, led by the former head of the Wrigley chewing gum empire William “Beau” Wrigley Jr., but commissioners added conditions to require Surterra to submit plans to comply with Massachusetts regulations around edible products, advertising and marketing.
Those conditions, requested by Commissioner Kay Doyle, stemmed from reports that a Surterra facility that processes marijuana products was shut down for having not completed a food safety inspection and that the company violated Florida restrictions around advertising and marketing of medical marijuana products.
Patrick Beyea, the CCC’s director of investigations, told commissioners that he reached out to his counterpart at the Florida medical marijuana program to ask about the company’s track record. The Florida official, Beyea said, could not share too many details because of patient privacy requirements.
“But she did say that Surterra was in compliance with everything and that any deficiencies that have been observed in past inspections have been corrected and they are in good standing with the Florida medical marijuana program,” he told the CCC on Thursday.
Commissioner Shaleen Title asked Beyea about a settlement related to an employee separation. The investigations chief said the agreement was a “confidential and mutually-agreeable settlement” that did not raise any red flags for his staff.
The sale of NETA to Surterra was the fifth change of control or ownership application approved by the CCC.
A business must seek and receive approval from the CCC if any individual or entity would acquire or increase its ownership to 10 percent or more of the