At New England Cannabis Convention, pot proponents still concerned about stigma

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When the New England Cannabis Convention first began four years ago, marijuana dispensaries weren’t even open in Massachusetts.

A lot has changed in four years. The fourth year of the convention took place just a week before the state begins accepting licenses for recreational marijuana businesses, and the two rooms of the Hynes Convention Center were buzzing with thousands of attendees and 250 vendors showcasing everything from trellis systems and lighting companies to cannabis workforce compliance and financiers.

That industry is only projected to grow, as the recreational marijuana business comes online six years after the state’s medical marijuana business began.

Though according to Christopher Ray, an attorney with law firm Hoban Law Group, there are limits to its growth. The state’s Cannabis Control Commission has restricted companies to owning no more than 100,000-square-feet of canopy space and no more than three licenses per company, effectively prohibiting a "Walmart or Target of cannabis" in Massachusetts.