Officials are planning for huge crowds as Boston’s first marijuana store gets ready to open within weeks in Dorchester. Authorities want to keep lengthy lines from blocking the sidewalks near the shop located at the Grove Hall section. Law enforcers will patrol the area for public marijuana smoking and illegal parking.
Boston’s director of emerging industries, Alexis Tkachuk, enlighted a panel of cannabis lawyers and executives on February 27 about how the launch is expected to go. According to this official, the goal is to head off some of the complaints after Greater Boston’s first cannabis shop opened in Brookline in 2019.
Pure Oasis, the Dorchester store, located on Blue Hill Avenue, is currently staff training and finishing up with state requirements before its last inspection. Its launch is a milestone since it will become the state’s first store that is owned by people who are members of the state’s economic empowerment program.
The program aims at enhancing communities that are hardest hit by the war on drugs. Tkachuk said:
“We are now very much focused on the opening of this shop. It is fascinating for the city of Boston, for the state, for the Eastern Seaboard.”
After Pure Oasis, the city expects to open three new shops at Berkshire Roots in East Boston, Ascend by North Station, and Patriot Care. Patriot Care is a medical marijuana dispensary that is already operational adjacent to the Downtown Crossing that wants to sell recreational cannabis.
Preparations for marijuana store
The Pure Oasis leaders confirmed that they plan to have 40 employees who will serve up to 1,000 clients daily, which will benefit the neighbourhood with more customers visiting nearby shops. Security will keep sidewalks clear, and the rented space nearby will fit at least 100 people waiting in line indoors.
A co-owner of Pure Oasis, Kobie Evans, commented:
“We want to be good community partners and make sure Grove Hall is as vibrant and enterprising as possible.”
Boston is learning from Brookline, whose New England Treatment Access store attracts almost 2,500 daily clients. Neighbours in that place now complain about public cannabis smoking, littering, congested traffic and parking. Other sites like Leicester, near Worcester, struggle with similar challenges.
Many cannabis entrepreneurs are frustrated since Boston’s legalization process seems stalled for the last twelve months. They complain since they already paid thousands of dollars in monthly rent without knowing whether they would get city approval.
Boston will soon enter a new and quicker phase of its cannabis rollout with the Dorchester store opening. The Mayor’s administration will appoint a 5-member cannabis board to help in approving businesses. The board’s first job is to review 28 companies’ applications for host-community agreements. These are contracts needed for the application of a state license.
Up to date, the city has signed 14 agreements with three of those, including Pure Oasis being economic empowerment applicants.
Amidst all these discussions and preparations, the executive director of Greater Grove Hall Main Streets, Ed Gaskin, stated that he thought the city should have compelled Pure Oasis to offer more benefits to the neighbouring community in its agreement. He said:
“We’re giving up parking, there’s more traffic, more congestion — what do we get in return?”
The contract needs Pure Oasis to pay 3% of its sales revenue to the host city. That amount is the maximum payment that is specified by the state law. Nonetheless, additional fees in this city contracts have emerged as a significant barrier to small businesses in the industry.
The chairman of the Cannabis Control Commission, Steven Hoffman, commented:
“The bigger players can afford to buy a firetruck. The smaller players can’t.”
Despite all these challenges, it appears like Boston is ready to unveil its first Marijuana shop.