Skip to content



News |
From politics to pot: Tree House Cannabis Co. opens in Dracut

New pot shop puts strong emphasis on community

  • Tree House Cannabis Company officially opened for business at 61...

    Tree House Cannabis Company officially opened for business at 61 Silva Lane on Saturday. Dracut Town Manager Ann Vandal, New England Craft Cultivators co-CEOs Wes Ritchie and Ture Turnbull, Member of the Econonomic Development Committee Joe DiCarlo, Selectman Heather Santiago Hutchings, and Selectman Joe DiRocco. (Jacob Vitali/Lowell Sun)

  • Tree House Cannabis Company officially opened for business at 61...

    Tree House Cannabis Company officially opened for business at 61 Silva Lane on Saturday. An employee of Tree House completes a customer’s purchase within minutes of the ribbon cutting. (Jacob Vitali/Lowell Sun)

  • A customer at Tree House Cannabis Co. explores the company’s...

    A customer at Tree House Cannabis Co. explores the company’s offerings at their grand opening on Saturday. (Jacob Vitali/Lowell Sun)



DRACUT — Almost two decades ago, Wes Ritchie and Ture Turnbull were working in the state Legislature.

Ritchie was the chief of staff for then-state Sen. Barbara L’Italien, D-Andover; Turnbull was the legislative director for state Rep. Denise Garlick, D-Needham. The two are no longer in politics; instead, they are co-founders and co-CEOs of New England Craft Cultivators.

Late Saturday morning, the two officially opened their first retail location of Tree House Cannabis Co. in Dracut. The retail marijuana dispensary is Dracut’s third, joining Green Star Herbals and Lazy River Products, which have already opened.

While still maintaining the necessary regulatory and security protocols, Tree House is trying to find a way to have its location live up to its name — being a place for the community.

Ritchie and Turnbull said the intent is not to create a space like “the Department of Motor Vehicles,” but rather a space to learn about the products they sell and what they do. Turnbull hopes the store can be a place where his mom can feel comfortable.

“It’s a place that is meant to make people feel comfortable when they walk in,” Ritchie said. “It’s meant to have people step back, take a look around at what’s going on … so it’s really not about pushing people out of the space. It’s about bringing them to the space.”

Because Tree House is located on the second floor, they were able to find some leeway with the windows. On Saturday, sunlight was pouring in from all directions. Near the entrance is a permanent stage, where a man played piano for customers. Turnbull said the music will be a part of the company’s plans.

Tree House is located on the second floor of a building that also houses Equipment East. When customers arrive, they enter on the first floor and proceed up an elevator to a security checkpoint. There are 16 dedicated parking spaces.

Originally, Tree House had wanted to open at 1500 Broadway Road, but plans changed to 61 Silva Lane after Dracut residents voted against zoning changes in the area.

In the coming weeks, Turnbull would like to host a ski and snowboard expo, ideally with another local business.

As retail marijuana becomes more common in the Merrimack Valley, Turnbull said, “canna curiosity is growing.” However, the stigma around cannabis still exists. When the company hosted a job fair, Turnbull said one employee sat in their car nervous to come in because of it.

However, Ritchie and Turnbull see speaking with their customers as an opportunity for education. They also see opportunities for education with the state and Cannabis Control Commission.

Another way Tree House is hoping to emphasize community is through its hiring practices. The Dracut location has 14 full-time employees and another five employees work for the company out of Dracut, Ritchie said.

A majority of the company’s employees are residents of Dracut and a majority of them identify as LGBTQ, Ritchie said. Tree House is also a certified LGBT business by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

Ritchie joked the company is “the gayest place in Dracut.”

An emphasis with Tree House’s menu of products is to incorporate CBD products. With CBD products, a customer can experience many of the same benefits but without the high that a product containing THC would offer. CBD products are often derived from hemp, a plant in the cannabis family with low THC levels. It is also used in the manufacturing of rope, clothing, paper and other products.

Ritchie said Tree House’s selection of products comes from small craft producers across Massachusetts. As it enters 2022, it plans to sell more of its own products.

In the first quarter of 2022, Ritchie said the company expects to open its second location at 112-114 Main St. in Pepperell. Construction is scheduled to begin in January.

After lengthy discussions on how to interpret the town’s recreational marijuana bylaws, the Planning Board granted a special permit in late September. Pepperell’s first marijuana store, Uma Flowers, opened for business on Sunday.

A fourth retail marijuana dispensary in Dracut is expected to open in 2022 at 1274 Merrimack Ave.

Join the Conversation

We invite you to use our commenting platform to engage in insightful conversations about issues in our community. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable to us, and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy the law, regulation, or government request. We might permanently block any user who abuses these conditions.