FITCHBURG – WWII Gen. George S. Patton had purchased a piece land for his family in 1928 in Hamilton, Mass., a farm that the famous general’s son turned into a produce farm, Green Meadows.
Now, picking up the family torch, the general’s grandson Bob Patton started Green Meadows Dispensary on Whalon Street, specializing in organically-grown cannabis. Patton said they’ve recently released new CDB products meant for wellness, intended for seniors and veterans with conditions including PTSD.
“Cannabis’s mounting record of medical efficacy and its well-known pleasurable psychoactive effects can each contribute positively to lifestyle wellness,” said Patton, chairman of Green Meadows.
The Patton family is dedicated to furthering public understanding of how cannabis products can benefit people.
“We believe this medicine is critical to physical and mental health and well-being,” said CEO and Bob’s stepson Chris Zawacki.
Green Meadows holds adult-use and medical licenses. They grow organic cannabis and manufacture cannabis products for their own stores in Fitchburg as well as Southbridge plus wholesale to dispensaries throughout the state.
The family business has several lines of cannabis products, including organic cannabis flower and a new line of topical and oral CBD products.
Unlike many cannabis companies run by big multi-state corporations, the Patton family remains the majority owner of the company and in all of the executive roles, ensuring their founding values of community service, social engagement, and organic sustainability of doing well by the community, employees, customers, and partners continue.
The organic nature of Green Meadow cannabis makes cultivation more difficult but leads to a superior product that is healthier and more potent, Patton said, at a price that is still competitive with traditional growers.
They are committed to helping veterans and their families cope with PTSD, social isolation, pain, and other problems that come from military service.
The Patton family’s military traditions extend over generations, all the way back to the Revolutionary War. WWII General George S. Patton Jr. was one of many in his line.
Many decades after the general bought the Hamilton horse farm in 1928, his son Major-General George S. Patton IV converted it into a pick-your-own strawberry and blueberry farm he named Green Meadows upon his retirement in 1980. The farm added vegetables sold at a farmside stand, and later became a Community Supported Agriculture collective and one of the first certified organic farms in Massachusetts.
The major-general died of dementia in 2004 but his wife continued the farm until 2017, when the family got together to decide a future course for Green Meadows.
With two siblings involved in non-profit foundations working on veterans issues, they led the discussion into the decision for “cultivating organic medical cannabis with an emphasis on helping veterans and seniors” after hearing so many personal accounts of cannabis’s efficacy on post-deployment trauma, Patton said.
The original North Shore vegetable farm is now leased to local farmers via a nonprofit dedicated to maintaining perpetual open land for public enjoyment and for agriculture which can’t be developed, with the Green Meadows name being used for the family’s growing cannabis business.
Even in the days of vegetable farming, Green Meadows championed responsible social engagement. The major-general and his wife had a lifelong dedication to supporting veterans and other worthy initiatives including helping the mentally handicapped and environment charities.
Today, serving veterans is a main focus of Green Meadows’ cannabis business.
They continue to donate and support the community through a partnership with the Friends of Fitchburg Veterans, are launching Hispanic Heritage month in September highlighting local Hispanic-owned businesses, and give to charities like stopsoldiersuicide.org and blackveteransproject.org.
In Southbridge, they participate in civic initiatives such as town cleanup, downtown development, drug education, and housing for homeless veterans. They plan to do the same in Fitchburg.
The family also runs their non-profit affiliate, the Patton Alliance for Veterans (gmpav.org), which receives a portion of their profits and redistributes them to veterans’ causes.
Approximately 15% of Green Meadows employees are veterans. They also pride themselves in having a diverse staff (and customer base).
Green Meadows offers discounts to veterans both for medical and adult use.
The Fitchburg dispensary at 50 Whalon St. opened for recreational adult-use purchases in January 2023 and will be able to begin serving registered medical patients later this fall.
“Providing organic medical cannabis of the highest quality has been our fundamental aim from the beginning, so it’s an exciting time for us,” Patton said.
The family was impressed by “the welcome they received from city officials and leaders, including the mayor, the Planning Board, police, and the Veteran Services Officer,” Patton said. “The local community clearly likes us doing business in Fitchburg… and we appreciate Fitchburg in return.”
Opening in Fitchburg also “met a family goal to serve and support municipalities where we feel we can make a real difference… we’re very motivated by working with communities with such rich history and bright futures,” Zawacki said.
Their new CBD product line, “Patton’s Reserve”, is organic and made for purity and effectiveness, like the rest of their products. It is derived from hemp.
The “Tranquility” Patton Reserve CBD tincture is available now. The “Arctic Freeze” CBD pain lotion will be available mid-September. The next two products for the brand are CBD gummies, one type for creativity and energy, the other a sleep aid, and will be available in October.
Since CBD products are federally legal and can be marketed outside of the commonwealth, they’re looking forward to bringing their company and its values to a wider national audience.
In Massachusetts, they make and sell the “General’s Aide” high-THC products. Some of their prerolls won awards at the most recent New England Cannabis Convention.
They also sell clones for adults to grow their own.
In addition to all of their organic products, they have a value brand called “At Ease” available for retail and wholesale which is traditionally grown and is lower-priced.
Patton has always acknowledged his relation to General Patton and his family’s storied military history is an “accident of birth”, but “couldn’t be prouder of the connection or more aware of the obligation it imposes to conduct myself as a proud American and positive, productive member of the community.”
The 66-year-old grandson of the famous WWII general came of age in the aftermath of the Vietnam war and despite doing ROTC in college decided against a military career, instead becoming an author of six books; he intends on resuming his writing at some point, including about Green Meadows and cannabis.
Three of Bob’s four sons are deeply involved in running the company, including 50-year-old Zawacki as CEO and 37-year-old CMO Rob Patton.
Within the wider extended family, many of whom are or were in the military, very few hold a negative view of cannabis and the family’s involvement with it, and all appreciate how the company serves veterans and lightens the “grave burden” of PTSD for many veterans (and civilians).
Patton said that “as a generational matter, my grandfather (and father) would probably have resisted our current involvement in cannabis.” But he extrapolated that the WWII general “never hesitated to defy convention to achieve an honorable goal” and “venerated and supported all who wear the American uniform” so he’s “confident our family’s Green Meadows project would have won his approval.”
Patton’s plans for the future of Green Meadows are to continue improving their organic cannabis and cannabis products, be “a responsible and positive member of our local and national community, to treat all the members of our Green Meadows team with respect and kindness, to educate and to learn from our patients and customers – and wherever possible, to have a hell of a good time doing it.”