The cannabis scene in Worcester, Massachusetts, is thriving. New Dia, the first equity-powered dispensary in the city, situated about 50 miles west of Boston, opened a few weeks ago. The business carries items from Freshly Baked, a veteran-, minority-, and women-run operation from nearby Taunton, and owner Ross Bradshaw donated the first $5,000 in sales to a neighborhood organization. The Botanist, a company with two area retail locations, offers educational seminars for equity partners looking to break into the industry.

All of which makes Thomas Laverty’s case so jarring.

Laverty & Son started as plumbers, pivoted to cannabis farming, ended in federal prison.

In 2017, the 37-year-old plumber was arrested for growing marijuana in a building belonging to…

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