By Beth Waterfall

Sandwich attorney Tim McNamara is taking his legal experience and entrepreneurial spirit in a direction that can be seen as both unexpected and as a natural next step. With years of experience helping Cape Cod residents and small businesses plan for their futures, Tim has big plans to make cannabis more accepted and accessible close to home, and to create jobs for Cape residents.

As cofounder and chief operations officer of Holistic Health Group (HHG), Tim is leading his team through the process of building an adult-use retail cannabis business and securing the licensing and real estate to operate it on Cape Cod. As a Mashpee resident, Tim also has the fortune of being a license-seeker in one of the few towns without a ban or moratorium against licensed cannabis businesses on the Cape.

During their October 2018 town meeting, Mashpee residents passed a bylaw that would allow for one retail cannabis license. Now, with limited options for cannabis-related businesses to establish themselves on Mid and Upper Cape Cod, Tim and HHG aren’t the only group vying for Mashpee’s singular retail license. A fresh approach was in order.

“What Holistic Health Group and I are bringing to the Mashpee application is what we truly believe is a better model for retail operators,” Tim explains. “With HHG, company stakeholders are more than the shareholders, and we are moving forward with a holistic approach that rewards employees, vendors, customers, suppliers, town government and our Mashpee community to succeed together. This business model incentivizes all of our partners, thereby ensuring our best potential for long term success, rather than the normal formula where just one license holder benefits.”

HHG would also develop a philanthropic entrepreneurship grant program to benefit small Cape-based cannabis-related businesses. Potential beneficiaries include Cape Cod Hemp in Yarmouth, which promotes and sources locally grown hemp for the creation and sale of affordable, tested CBD products; Trella Technologies, also of Mashpee and creators of one of the most buzzed-about indoor cultivation solutions the cannabis industry has seen; and West Barnstable-based Healing Tree Edibles, which manufactures CBD-infused items including granola bars and dog treats. (CBD, or cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring chemical compound shown to provide relief from chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety and many other conditions.)

Tim’s passion for creating opportunities for others and making cannabis more widely accepted and accessible arose in part after seeing the life-changing success that his cousin Conor experienced in a cannabis therapy program at Boston Children’s Hospital. The cannabis treatment resulted in a seizure frequency reduction from up to dozens per night, to just a couple seizures per month. Conor’s sleep and eating habits also improved, motivating Tim and his family to learn more and ultimately develop HHG.

Empowered with personal experience and knowledge obtained by attending large industry conferences and meeting with leading doctors and industry pioneers, Tim knows that cannabis education can be life-changing for a family and broader community. As such, education is a key pillar of HHG’s efforts on Cape Cod. Tim can still be seen advocating and educating his community at town meetings and other public venues both on- and off-Cape about HHG and the broader benefits and opportunities legal cannabis presents.

In November 2018, HHG received state approval to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Middleborough, where they currently have one of the first greenhouse cultivation facilities in the Commonwealth under construction. HHG is also pursuing retail cannabis dispensary licenses in Dorchester and Worcester.

“We’re creating a model where we can serve people directly with clear and sufficient product information and education relating to administration methods, which can vary from person to person and patient to patient,” said Tim. HHG plans to collect and analyze patient and consumer data for both client service and product development, but also to uncover trends that could lead to effective treatment of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Related to that goal, HHG is seeking a license to conduct cannabis research in Mashpee.

In the meantime, Tim and his HHG cofounders, Paul Ofria and Colonel Boothe, continue to educate their host communities, and encourage others to do the same. Tim also notes the role the Cannabis Control Commission and individual towns can take to have open conversations about cannabis and its benefits.

“The people who are least informed about cannabis are usually the most afraid,” he said. “But, often they also stand to benefit from cannabis the most.”

Learn more about Tim and Holistic Health Group at www.holistichealthgroup.org.