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The Small-Batch Sensations of Massachusetts's Tree House Craft Cannabis

by Kelsy Chauvin

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday April 29, 2022

Would you care for a scoop of cannabis ice cream? How about a refreshing seltzer infused with THC? Or instead of an edible, what about a pre-foreplay, cannabis-infused personal lubricant?

The possibilities for cannabis seem magically endless. But for many members of the LGBTQ community, so many choices is an opportunity to spend money where it counts. In Massachusetts, many queer cannabis fans rely on Tree House Craft Cannabis.

Located in Dracut, Massachusetts, near the New Hampshire state line, Tree House is LGBTQ-owned and -operated. Co-founders Wes Ritchie and Ture Turnbull opened the store's doors in 2021, prioritizing inclusivity on its own team as well as across its customer base. Another part of the duo's brand mission is to support and sell small-batch cannabis products from reliable, diverse farmers and makers.

"About fifty percent of our overall inventory is from small craft producers, as opposed to the 'bigger guys of cannabis', and we're really proud of the variety we offer," says Turnbull. "We are one of the only places in Massachusetts where you can reliably find awesome products like THC-cannabis-infused ice cream, mints, drinks, and a wide variety of CBD-cannabis products that consumers can trust."

Tree House Craft Cannabis is devoted to real-time hospitality in its brick-and-mortar recreational-cannabis dispensary, and offers online ordering for in-store pick-ups. Its budtenders (many of whom are part of the queer community) are always happy to answer questions, and welcome new customers, especially those who may not feel quite as welcome in other dispensaries.

"We want people to come in and feel relaxed, like they're not rushed to make decisions. And we'd like EDGE readers to know that we're the gayest spot in Dracut!," says Ritchie, noting the company's membership in the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. "If you're interested in dabbling in cannabis, Tree House is a place where you'll feel comfortable and accepted. We're a great way for LGBTQ folks to spend their money at an LGBTQ-owned dispensary that shares their values."

Which Cannabis Is Your Cannabis

Ritchie is quick to admit, "There are so many different types of products!" To zero in on products right for your preferred sensations and tastes, a Tree House budtender is likely to start by asking your experience with cannabis. Newcomers are typically advised to start with lower doses and milder concentrations; most pros agree that 5-10 mg of cannabis per dose is a good starting point.

Another consideration is your intended use, or whether you prefer to try a non-psychoactive, hemp-derived CBD-only product, or a high-making THC product.

There also are strains of flower that offer both THC and CBD cannabinoids in different proportions. Even more specific, sometimes flower is sativa-dominant (generally more uplifting or energizing); sometimes it's indica-dominant (more relaxing and calming); and sometimes it's a hybrid that blends sativa and indica.

Next, think about how you prefer to consume cannabis. Old-fashioned smokable flower remains popular. But smoking is not for everyone, and with so many product choices, you may prefer edibles, topicals, or tinctures.

Along with cannabis benefits such as pain relief, anxiety and inflammation reduction, euphoric sensations, and relaxation, edibles can serve up tasty flavors, while tinctures may be an easier way to control and administer dosage. Topicals can be applied to specific body parts, helpful especially for feeling the wellness effects of CBD.

Smart Buys, Hot Tips

The nuances of cannabis may all seem a bit complicated, but that's all the more reason to rely on the Tree House team's expertise in finding the right product for you (and your budget). It helps that the dispensary stocks trustworthy, small-batch brands, some of which call Massachusetts home.

Asked about a few of his and Turnbull's go-to goods, Ritchie says, "One of my personal favorites are our seltzer options — we have brands like Cantrip, a locally owned business out of Framingham, Massachusetts that manufactures low-dose relaxing drinks. Others, including our Good Feels, Wynk, and Levia drinks have a similar effect — they're low-dose drinkable options for people who are looking to unwind without the alcohol-equivalent hangover that seems to happen more and more in our 30s, 40s, and beyond." He adds, "Similarly, our are very popular. And we sell great brands like Freshly Baked edibles, which is a social equity company out of Taunton, making incredible gummies."

Look for Tree House Craft Cannabis to open its new store location in Pepperell later in 2022, with other expansion plans on the horizon. Tree House also plans to start selling its own small-batch cannabis products soon.

Above all, Ritchie and Turnbull say Tree House's mission remains focused on educating customers. "We really want each person browsing in our store to feel relaxed and informed, with attention to their particular needs and preferred effects," said Turnbull. "That's the best way to pair a customer with products that are right for them."

Kelsy Chauvin is a writer, photographer and marketing consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in travel, feature journalism, art, theater, architecture, construction and LGBTQ interests. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @kelsycc.