Start-Up Cannabis Grow Lab In Brewster Targets Fall Opening

By: Bronwen Walsh

Chris Dias, co-founder of SBS One Source and one of four local investors in a 9,000-square-foot Brewster grow lab off Freemans Way that they dubbed “Burning Grinder.” BRONWEN WALSH PHOTO 

BREWSTER – The Select Board last May 22 approved an amended host community agreement with Cape Cod Grow Lab, which is close to opening a 9,000-square-foot cannabis cultivation facility, pending an inspection and final license from the state Cannabis Control Commission.

Burning Grinder LLC plans to run a cannabis cultivation operation at 95 Alexandra Ave., formerly 1399 Freemans Way, and later build an adjacent manufacturing facility.

Made entirely of PVC and steel, the grow lab has received all of its municipal permits and inspections, as well as a certificate of occupancy, according to Building Commissioner Davis Walters.

An agreement with the town was signed several years ago, said Town Manager Peter Lombardi; however, going through permitting, development and the pandemic, the Grow Labs officially changed its address. As a result, town counsel put together “a very straightforward amendment” that clarified the discrepancy.

Select board members and town officials toured the facility earlier this spring.

“It was a wonderful experience, it was great to see where the business is, and how professional,” said Mary Chaffee. “It was like walking through a brand new hospital.”

Cape Cod Grow Lab plans to offer public tours once the facility is fully open and supplying local dispensaries, co-owner Chris Dias said Tuesday. The lab will pay the town 3 percent of sales after its first year in business.

Dias said he and three friends — Artak Sahakyan, Rick Roy and Josh Flanders — together have invested about $5 million in automated equipment, and Roy backed the construction of the $1.3 million metal warehouse.

“It’s relatively unusual to have all local guys as investors,” he noted.

Twenty-two years ago, Dias started Specialty Builders’ Supply (SBS) One Source, a home building supply firm in Brewster now serving greater Boston and Cape and Islands builders, designers and architects.

“We’re lucky to have started small” with Burning Grinder, “because building and equipment costs doubled and tripled during the pandemic,” Dias said. “We’re all in the construction industry, so we’re used to delays. A couple things held us up for a year. It’s crazy, all the stuff you have to do” to run a grow lab in Massachusetts.

“Everything is regulated. We have over 100 cameras in here that record a week’s worth of film. We have to be the best at what we do,” he said.
“We have a 10,000-square-foot license, and there are five people here now,” Dias said. “There are places that do this that have 300 people working in a 200,000-square-foot building. We’re just a drop in the bucket.”

Large marijuana plants growing in soil imported from Sri Lanka will be stored in the “mother/clone” room, where a fan and sensors move air throughout two-story, movable steel racks to regulate temperature.

Small pieces of the big plants will be clipped off in the clone room and grown into small plants. Green lights simulate night time darkness throughout the labs.

From there, the plants will move to the vegetative room, whose movable steel racks stand three stories high. Food, water and CO2 are automatically pumped in through celluloid tubes.

Then it’s on into one of two flower rooms, each with two levels, where cannabis plants are dehumidified as they grow to five or six feet tall. Mature buds will be picked and hung to dry, then trimmed and bagged in yet another room.

“Once we get going, you can’t go in there because we don’t want to contaminate the plants with bugs or mold,” Dias said. Visitors will be able to see the operation through window hatches.

Burning Grinder plans to hold a job fair in July, and the building should be completed in August, said Dias, who runs a lumber yard next door. Matt Griffin, the onsite operations manager, won’t need many people because all plant growing and building operations are automated by an EarthLink system.
“It has evolved,” Dias said. “We’re going for quality, not quantity. We hope to do the ‘Cape Cod’ name proud.”