It wasn’t just a love for cannabis that inspired the founding of Revolutionary Clinics, but a love for the play “Hamilton,” too.
One of the co-founders, Ryan Ansin, chose the company’s name based on his fandom for the popular Broadway hip-hop musical about America’s founding fathers, with the lofty goal of emulating their commitment to social progress in the cannabis space.
“He saw these guys as inspirational revolutionaries that helped make change by doing things that aren’t easy and went against the grain,” explains Tom Schneider, Revolutionary Clinics’ chief marketing officer. “And it didn’t hurt that they all grew and smoked hemp.”
While they won’t be founding their own government anytime soon, the Massachusetts-based Revolutionary Clinics has grown since its inception to include two medical cannabis dispensaries in Cambridge and Somerville, as well as one of the largest grow facilities in the state.
A former shoe factory by the Nashua River dating back to 1891, the quarter-million-square-foot facility was acquired on the cheap from one of Revolutionary Clinics’ managing directors, then laboriously converted into what might be the state’s most high-tech and environmentally-friendly operation.
They installed energy efficient LED lighting and Cloud-controlled heating systems throughout the building and brought 19 geothermal wells around the property back to functioning condition to cool and recirculate water for the lights and HVAC units. The extra costs they incurred for this maintenance paid off big time with the $470,000 rebate Revolutionary Clinics received from its energy provider in 2018.
The buds themselves are housed in airlocked, pesticide-free “pods,” while elsewhere they’re trimmed to perfection or baked into edibles and concentrates at the onsite kitchen and extraction lab, respectively. This means almost all the inventory at Revolutionary Clinics’ two dispensaries is grown and produced in-house.
Their Somerville location was the first to open in November 2017, following a multi-year process of state inspections and jumping through administrative hoops to which most entrepreneurs working in the rapidly-evolving cannabis industry, whether on the East or West Coast, can relate.
“It’s a combination of really exhausting and really exciting,” summarizes Schneider.
Today, both locations provide medically-licensed customers with a wide variety of cannabis products and a crew of patient advocates on staff to recommend the best ones for specific medicinal needs, plus amenities like complimentary tea and a general lounge area with a gas-powered fireplace to warm up by in the winter. They offer discounts up to 40 percent off for veterans, disabled and financially-imperiled customers, and host regular community events like learning sessions covering cannabis consumption methods and health topics.
“We want patients to walk in and feel like they’re at home,” Schneider says. “Our Somerville facility actually is a home — an old retirement house.”
Now, Revolutionary Clinics is jumping through a new set of administrative hoops to open their third dispensary in time for summer, what will become their pilot store at a 6,500-square-foot space in Cambridge’s Central Square, which will accommodate a broader customer base and far larger events. They’ll also be expanding into recreational sales at their locations before long and have already started selling their products wholesale to some of the few recreational shops already opened in Massachusetts.
All of it, down to their loyalty points and checkout bag recycling program, fits within Revolutionary Clinics’ original ambition to create something new and exciting in the local cannabis space, a community of educated cannabis advocates and patients they refer to on their site as “Rev Nation.” The founding fathers should be proud.