| The Taunton Daily Gazette
State’s first marijuana delivery biz is in Taunton. Here’s what Freshly Baked will be bringing to doorsteps as soon as January.
TAUNTON — With Taunton’s retail marijuana licenses tied up in a lawsuit, there may soon be another way to get recreational marijuana in the city.
Freshly Baked Company — the state’s first marijuana home delivery service — is on the verge of getting up and running in Taunton. Run by two disabled veterans, the company is expecting to get through the final legal steps in the next few weeks and begin delivery in January.
Philip Smith and Jenny Roseman, who have been dating for three years, say they are excited to use their business not only to help people get access to the benefits of marijuana, but to better their community.
Smith and Roseman, both 39, have had different paths to being regular marijuana consumers. Smith said he first tried it in high school and used it off and on recreationally for a long time.
In 2003, Smith served as a combat Marine in the Iraq War, and when he returned home the same year with a honorable discharge, he suffered from PTSD, anxiety and depression. He said he would often have flashbacks, nightmares and trouble sleeping.
“After I got out of the military and came home from the war, I was struggling and I went to the VA and did everything they told me…The treatments were great for me. The medications just never sat well,” he said. “I had years where…I was taking things and then I wouldn’t take things because the side effects were so bad.”
But Smith noticed that he would feel better when he would smoke marijuana recreationally. He said his doctor told him that if that worked for him, he should go for it.
“It took a while for me to actually buy in to treat cannabis like a medication because I had only had rec[reational] experiences,” he said. “So once I got to that point, it really changed my life.”
Roseman has a similar story. She served in the Air Force and was a first responder at the Pentagon during 9/11.
“I didn’t go to the VA like a lot of people. I struggled not talking about things that had happened along the way,” she said. “And over the years, it had been suggested to me that cannabis might actually help me. I didn’t think that to be true. I was definitely a rule follower.”
But Roseman had a friend who convinced her to try edibles to see if they would help.
“I was like licking one and I was like ‘Am I gonna turn into something crazy?’ and nothing happened,” she said.
So Roseman moved to smoking marijuana, which she found really helped her PTSD and social anxiety.
“I felt like I could leave my house and go places and enjoy my family and my niece and my nephew in ways that I had really been missing out on over the years,” she said.
But Roseman was still having trouble sleeping. By that time, she and Smith were dating, and that’s when he suggested making marijuana gummies on their own. They didn’t taste great, they said, but they did help her sleep.
Soon, the couple realized that their gummies could do a lot of good.
“We had a woman next door — an older woman that couldn’t sleep. We gave her some gummies and she was like, ‘This is amazing. I’m sleeping now,'” Smith said.”…We start to give them to other veterans and friends and family who say ‘I can’t sleep at night.’…We’re like ‘Wait a second. Not only is this a business opportunity, but we’re helping people here. We need to help folks, and bringing access is the way to do it.”
So in 2018, the couple created Freshly Baked Company, and set off on their mission.
Smith became part of the first cohort of the Social Equity Program created by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission. The program consists of 14 classes over the course of a year on how to navigate and succeed in the cannabis industry and is only open to new marijuana business owners who come from communities disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs. These entrepreneurs also get expedited reviewing of their applications to start their businesses.
The couple then found a kitchen inside the old Reed & Barton complex on West Britannia Street and set up shop making and planning their products with the help of 10 volunteers. They said the City of Taunton and the state have both been supportive of their business.
“We are two simple veterans who happened to come into this giant industry, which is crazy, and we are navigating the best we can,” Roseman said. “I feel like we’ve really been helped and uplifted along the way.”
When Freshly Baked Company is up and running, they will sell marijuana flowers, gummies and other edibles, essential paraphernalia like grinders and bowls, pre-rolled joints and other products. For now, they will be sourcing their marijuana from Commonwealth Alternative Care and other local marijuana cultivators. But in the future, they plan to grow their own plants aeroponically.
The couple has a delivery truck which will begin by delivering within 15 miles of downtown Taunton and may eventually branch out. They said the vehicle looks like any other delivery truck, and that the delivery people will be tracked on a GPS and wear body cameras.
“There’s still a stigma around it,” Smith said. “Not everybody wants to admit they’re buying weed or be seen in a dispensary. So home delivery will give folks that access.”
The couple said accessibility is one of their most important values. They want people in their community to have safe and easy access to marijuana, as some people aren’t able to leave their houses to go to a dispensary.
But all this will require a dedicated staff. The couple is hoping to hire 10 people, across delivery and manufacturing, in the first few months, and they want them to be from the Taunton community, especially those who have been disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs.
Roseman and Smith have big dreams for Freshly Baked, and through their hard work and real struggles, they hope to share the benefits they’ve gotten from marijuana with the Taunton community.
“We’re always looking to change hearts and minds. That’s important to us,” Smith said. “I think when we just talk to people and give them our story, whether it be state, city officials, or even reporters from newspapers, I think that we always try to be honest on who we are and honest with our relationship with cannabis. And that we don’t believe that we would be here right now if it wasn’t for cannabis.”