By Philip Marcelo, Associated Press
(AP) — Boston’s first retail marijuana shop and Massachusetts’ first minority-owned marijuana business was approved this week.
The state’s Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday voted to give final license approval to Pure Oasis, a cannabis shop proposed by two local black entrepreneurs.
The approval comes more than three years after voters approved the nation’s first marijuana law aimed at encouraging black, Latinos and other people harmed by the war on drugs to participate in the new industry.
Commission Chairman Steven Hoffman called the vote “an important milestone” and wished the company luck.
Kobie Evans, a co-owner of Pure Oasis, said the shop hopes to open its doors in about a month in the city’s diverse Dorchester neighborhood.
“It’s been a long, challenging journey, but it’s all been worth it,” he said after the vote. “We’re excited to be where we are right now, but we’d also like to see more opportunities for people like us so that its not such a challenging road for people that come after us.”
Kevin Hart, the other co-owner of Pure Oasis, believes the local industry’s demographics will improve as more pot businesses are opened in Greater Boston’s more diverse communities.
There are currently multiple Massachusetts retail marijuana locations, but only one is in Greater Boston: New England Treatment Access, in the affluent suburb of Brookline.
The company, which is also proposing two other retail locations in the Boston area, has been holding job fairs in and around Dorchester, a neighborhood where more than 40% of residents are black, as it plans to hire about 30 workers for its first shop.
“It’s bittersweet. It’s a great feeling to be first, but we know that also comes with a level of responsibility,” Hart said. “It’s our responsibility to take this win we got today and make sure people of color realize they have the same opportunities.”
AP Photo David Eggert