Smell that? It’s the scent of money. Now that recreational pot has been legalized in Massachusetts, entrepreneurs are on the brink of a billion-dollar green rush—that is, if bureaucratic fumbling and political infighting don’t ruin the high.
On a warm day in February, Kris Krane wants to show me a very large, very empty warehouse in Worcester. “There is a lot riding on this,” he says as he flips on the facility’s lights, a firmament of humming yellow fluorescents illuminating 65,000 square feet of bare concrete flooring. “We have to do this right.”
By “do this right,” Krane means fill much of the space—larger than the football field in Foxboro—with thousands upon thousands of marijuana plants. The resulting cannabis buds will be cured, trimmed, and, in some cases, processed into extracts and edibles on site. Some of the product will be sold at an attached medical marijuana dispensary named Mission, featuring iPad-equipped sample stations and other touches straight out of an Apple store. The rest will go to additional Mission locations throughout the state and eventually to other Massachusetts dispensaries. Even before the first seed has been planted, Krane is already eyeing expansion opportunities in Rhode Island, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Arkansas; he’s also secured licenses in Illinois and Maryland.
Clean-cut, well dressed, and impeccably professional, Krane personifies the mainstreaming of marijuana. He’s spent his entire adult life advocating for the drug and has evolved from a campus activist into “the new face of the marijuana trade,” as the Globe dubbed him. He can trade war stories with stoners at the Boston Freedom Rally and then walk up the steps of the State