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Promotional Feature : "Green Matters - Connecting the Dots Ag Tech to Cannabis Consulting to Dispensary Operations"

Aug 30, 2019 01:22PM ● By Marketing SENSI MAG
When Tim Shaw, COO of MariMed Inc., saw the cannabis industry evolving, with new states legalizing medical cannabis through the early 2000s and his home state of Massachusetts decriminalizing possession in November 2008, he wanted to get involved.

He jumped in in 2010 when he started Green Matters, a gardening supply store with two locations and a third on the way in Massachusetts. “I was an engineer at Nextel in a previous life and saw this industry coming west to east,” Shaw says. “So I thought, what can I do legally to get involved?”

He knew all the grow operations in the state would need to buy nutrients and other consumables. “So I decided I would meet new operators, find out what they needed, and make some money,” he says. “And it’s not illegal.”

Working with plants is “in his blood,” Shaw says. His family comes from a long line of garden center owners, growing and selling ornamentals and Christmas trees at Van Wilgens Garden Center and Nursery in North Branford, Connecticut. “I do not have formal training or a college education in horticulture,” he says. “But I have developed a good system of how to grow this plant.”

While Shaw is the CEO of Green Matters, which functions as the supply arm to MariMed clients, all Green Matters supply chain operations are handled by his wife, Lilli, a former dental assistant. “So I see things on the front end and the back end,” Shaw says.

Green Matters sells hydroponics, soil, nutrients, and everything required for a grow operation. “The stuff that takes up the most real estate the big equipment like hydroponic lights and its support structure has the least amount of margin,” he says. “Once a customer buys it, they don’t have to buy it again. They have built their infrastructure. The thing that keeps us open and the lights on is the constant consumable needs, like nutrients and soil.”

MariMed offers total turnkey solutions for cannabis cultivators and dispensaries. The company is spreading deeper into the industry, working in seven states and securing three cannabis business licenses in Massachusetts. It is set to open its first dispensary in December in Middle borough, Massachusetts, and is planning to open a 140,000-square-foot cultivation facility with over 1,000 hydroponic lights in New Bedford soon.

As a business consultant, Shaw says part of his job is grassroots lobbying to bring common sense to state regulations. “Regulators have worked through a lot of the kinks, one of them being testing,” he says. “They had this baloney situation where the testing labs were permitted for medical but not for adult use. It was the same process. I think it was a money-grab situation.”

He says he has never worked so hard in his life as he has in the last six years. “This industry is not for the faint of heart,” he says. “I am an absentee father at the moment, all over the place traveling.”

Looking around at the floor of the huge 2018 Marijuana Business Conference in Las Vegas, a show with 27,500 official attendees, Shaw appears confident that soon all the time and effort he has put into the business will pay off. “I think the wheels are just starting to come off the ground in this industry,” he says, gesturing to groups of hundreds of conference attendees. “There is real B2B action here now. There is real money being made right on the floor now.”

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