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Kosher marijuana facility proposed in Lynn would be a first on the East Coast

LYNN — Everything’s kosher so far for a company proposing a cannabis manufacturing facility on Sanderson Avenue. 

Essence Labs, which describes itself as bringing marijuana-infused edible products to a higher level, brought its proposal before a neighborhood meeting at the Lynn Police Station Monday evening. 

The company, pending approval from the City Council, is planning to open its plant at 82-86 Sanderson Ave., a 111,000-square-foot manufacturing building that houses about a dozen tenants, who are mostly engaged in food production-related businesses. 

The business would be the first of its kind on the East Coast. That’s because all of their marijuana edible products would be kosher, according to Rabbi Aaron Balkany, manager and chief technology officer for Essence Labs. 

He’s hoping that unique element would translate to a big market for their products, which would be manufactured on site and then sold to marijuana dispensary and retail shop owners, who would then sell those products to their customers. 

“There’s nobody doing it — certainly not on the East Coast,” said Balkany. “There’s one guy who’s doing kosher CBD oil out of New York, but he doesn’t even produce it in New York. He’s doing it in Colorado. This is a whole different ball game.” 

The cannabis plant wouldn’t be grown on site, but rather, would be delivered to the facility and would be extracted into oil and liquid, which would then be placed into the edibles, such as cookies and chocolate, according to Rachel Rich-Guzi, the company’s president. 

“It sounds really simple because it is really simple,” said Balkany. “It’s extract, get it out, and put it in food.” 

Rich-Guzi said the business is personal for her. She has a disease she didn’t disclose and has found relief in medical marijuana. But she keeps kosher and has found that there’s no products out there for her. 

City Council President Darren Cyr, who represents Ward 3 where the business would be located, said he supports the proposal. Although he was opposed to and voted against legalizing marijuana, he said it’s out there and now he has to think about how can the city profit from it and create jobs. 

Cyr said he also liked that the company has pledged to give back to the community, notably their plan to support the Lynn Shore Little League, which plays at the nearby Kiley Playground and is the poorest little league in the city. 

About six neighbors came to the meeting and voiced concerns regarding security and the facility being close to the park, but Cyr said he thinks those concerns were satisfied following the meeting. 

Company officials said the building would be fully secured and that only employees would be allowed to enter. No one would buy product on site and the facility would be odorless, according to the company. 

“What they’re going to be able to do is create medicines and food for the Jewish community as well as the public so they’re going to be able to cater to a certain clientele that needs things that have to be kosher and it’s the first of its kind,” Cyr said. 

The company is scheduled to appear before the City Council’s Recreational Cannabis Site Plan Review Committee on Sept. 10 and will then appear before the full City Council later that evening.

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