Florence native eyes summer opening for High Flyers marijuana growing, production and delivery company

Samantha Britt talks about her new cannabis growing and delivery company, High Flyers, opening in Florence sometime this summer. The business will operate out of a 9,000-square-foot warehouse off Bardwell Street.

Samantha Britt talks about her new cannabis growing and delivery company, High Flyers, opening in Florence sometime this summer. The business will operate out of a 9,000-square-foot warehouse off Bardwell Street. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Samantha Britt talks about her new cannabis growing and delivery company, High Flyers, opening in Florence sometime this summer. The business will operate out of a 9,000-square-foot warehouse off Bardwell Street.

Samantha Britt talks about her new cannabis growing and delivery company, High Flyers, opening in Florence sometime this summer. The business will operate out of a 9,000-square-foot warehouse off Bardwell Street. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Samantha Britt talks about her new cannabis growing and delivery company, High Flyers, opening in Florence sometime this summer. The business will operate out of a 9,000-square-foot warehouse off Bardwell Street.

Samantha Britt talks about her new cannabis growing and delivery company, High Flyers, opening in Florence sometime this summer. The business will operate out of a 9,000-square-foot warehouse off Bardwell Street. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Samantha Britt talks about her new cannabis growing and delivery company, High Flyers, opening in Florence sometime this summer. The business will operate out of a 9,000-square-foot warehouse off Bardwell Street.

Samantha Britt talks about her new cannabis growing and delivery company, High Flyers, opening in Florence sometime this summer. The business will operate out of a 9,000-square-foot warehouse off Bardwell Street. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

By JAMES PENTLAND

Staff Writer

Published: 05-29-2024 2:04 PM

Modified: 05-30-2024 4:42 PM


NORTHAMPTON — With her roots in Florence and years of growing experience, Samantha Britt is betting that her horticultural business will bring benefits not only for her but for her hometown, too.

“I’ve been growing weed a long time” she said. “I wanted to get into the legal market.”

Britt, 39, is founder and CEO of High Flyers, a marijuana microbusiness focused on growing, production and delivery of cannabis.

“It’s three licenses in one,” she said.

She gained entry to the market through the Cannabis Control Commission’s social equity program, which provides technical assistance and training to people who have been in legal trouble before the law was changed, or who live in an area disproportionately affected by drug prohibition.

Britt, who owns property in Holyoke, said she qualified under both criteria.

Since obtaining her license, she has been working to convert a 9,000-square-foot warehouse off Bardwell Street, creating spaces for growing, trimming, drying and packaging her product.

She has been attending auctions and driving hundreds of miles to save on the machinery and materials she needs.

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“I’ve raised over $750,000,” she said.

She also received a $50,000 grant from the state commission’s social equity trust fund.

“I’m lucky — I’m a good talker,” Britt said. “I bartended for 20 years.”

She said she started at the Iron Horse at 16 and did stints at several other bars, including the Eastside Grill and Mama Iguana’s.

Britt said her family has been in Florence for 100 years. Her 91-year-old grandfather still lives in the same house he grew up in on Hinckley Street.

She observed that most cannabis businesses have out-of-state ownership. “The difference is my money stays here,” she said.

Neighbors have been supportive, she said, and her community outreach meeting went well — which was a pleasant surprise considering the opposition that greeted a proposed dispensary just down the street at the Pizza Factory in the summer and fall of 2022.

Three other people are part of High Flyers’ ownership team — production manager Kocayne Givner, head cultivator Greg Long and marketing manager Crystal Dunn.

The money Britt has raised is going toward plumbing, electricity and lights in the vacant space, which owner Eric Suher was using for storage, she said. The business will also need a backup generator — a state requirement — and a security system with cameras.

She plans to have a kitchen for edibles that can be sold to dispensaries along with its cannabis flower and other products.

Britt put out an appeal for funds through business crowdfunding source Mainvest, but then that company went bust.

“If we can raise another $100,000, we should be operational by the end of the summer,” she said.

She expects to employ up to 12 people for trimming, packaging and delivery. As the only cannabis business on the west side of the city, she hopes High Flyers’ delivery service will appeal to hilltown customers.

After a brush with the law for the first time as a high school senior, Britt said she landed in more serious trouble at 19 when she was arrested with 2 ounces of marijuana and a bottle of spirits.

“I went through the program,” she said.

Now, she’s still in the weed business but on the right side of the law. “This was a dream, to have a building to show people,” she said.

James Pentland can be reached at jpentland@gazettenet.com.