Advesa Wellness Inc., based in Oakland, California, is proposing to open a manufacturing facility at 1375 Main St. in Millis to produce its environmentally-friendly and chemical-free products manufactured without the the use of water, gases, solvents, flavor addictives or fillers.
MILLIS — A California-based marijuana manufacturer is looking at opening in Millis to produce environmentally-friendly and clean products with THC.
A community outreach meeting via Zoom was held for Advesa Wellness Inc. on Wednesday night, which is seeking approval for a host community agreement and zoning approval through town officials to open within the industrial zone of Millis. The corporation, founded by Tony Verzura and co-founded by his wife Jessica, boasts a management team with a combined 35 years of experience in the marijuana industry. The team currently also has a marijuana dispensary proposal in Cambridge.
Based out of Oakland, California, the manufacturer is proposing to move into an unused, 5,000-square-foot space at 1375 Main St. in Millis. The rest of the building — nearly 45,000-square feet — is occupied by Collt Manufacturing, though the two will be separated, said Jessica Verzura.
The site is about a minute away from the town’s first and only marijuana dispensary, owned by CommCan.
First adult-use marijuana dispensary in Millis to open Wednesday
Advesa Wellness products are created by Tony Verzura, a cannabis inventor with 20 years of experience and the winner of over 80 awards to back up his plant-based, chemical-free products and mechanical extraction methods — all while having no impact on the environment, he said.
Verzura said he’s been developing his own extraction methods for the last 20 years, and that his products, which include THC and CBD capsules, topicals and liquid drops, differ from most other manufactures in that they’re mechanically created without the the use of water, gases, solvents, flavor addictives or fillers.
“A lot of manufacturers that are making products that are using ethanol or hydrocarbons like butane, they end up having hazardous waste, and they end up having an impact on the environment and community, so we don’t have these typical types of impacts,” he said.
It’ll be a zero-waste facility, said Jessica Verzura, and said due to its mechanical extraction methods, no odor will be emitted.
“We’re basically the Switzerland of cannabis manufacturing in Massachusetts,” she joked.
The corporation is also an Economic Empowerment Priority Applicant, a certification it received through the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) that grants them priority review in having their license application looked over. The certifications are granted based on a corporation’s work in promoting economic empowerment in communities disproportionately impacted by high rates of arrest and incarceration, according to the commission.
One way the corporation is fulfilling that status is through its hiring plans, which include hiring around 15-25 employees, and aiming to hire 75% of them from disproportionately-impacted communities determined by the CCC. At least 25% of them will be a local hires with a social equity focus, and individuals with previous non-violent marijuana convictions will also be prioritized.
The owners are aiming to have their host community agreement approved by the Millis Select Board sometime between now and November, and will then apply for its provisional license through the CCC. Once they receive their provisional license, they’ll begin to build out their facility as they await their final license, with hopes to begin operations by March of next year. Annually, the corporation will also owe money to the town through a 3% sales tax.
In addition to its host community agreement, Advesa Wellness is also mandated by the state to:
Develop training/educational programs for anyone in Millis and greater Massachusetts impacted by marijuana prohibition
Offer regular “office hours” once a quarter in an open location to provide free support services assisting residents with expunging Controlled Substances Act records to reduce barriers in getting hired for a job
Provide mentorship classes once a quarter for qualifying social equity and local Millis entrepreneurs
Lauren Young writes about politics, social issues and covers the town of Franklin. Reach her at 774-804-1499 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @laurenwhy__.