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Securing Community Support for The Botanist in Sterling, MA

Securing Community Support for The Botanist in Sterling, MA

The Opportunity

Acreage Holdings (dba The Botanist), a medical cannabis cultivation business in Sterling, MA, engaged Belfort Group (BG) to navigate a challenging situation. With only a month of lead time in a community that voted against the legalization of marijuana and allowance of adult-use recreational cultivation by a two-thirds margin within the past two years, BG’s goal was to flip the vote and secure a two-thirds margin approval at Town Meeting to allow the business to sell wholesale to adult-use retailers.

The Strategy

As part of the community relations campaign, the BG creative team developed marketing collateral emphasizing the project benefits and clarifying that no retail dispensaries would be pursued in town. They distributed printed mailers to community members and key stakeholders, alongside a campaign website (no longer live).

The Results

Town Meeting attendance was roughly 30 percent higher than usual greatly due to BG’s efforts, and almost all the speakers supported the article. Despite unanimous opposition and a lack of recommendation by the Planning Board, the client’s article received overwhelming support, surpassing the necessary two-thirds majority and successfully passing. This achievement is particularly notable considering the initial negative climate at the beginning of the campaign.

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