BOSTON (CBS) – A milestone was achieved Thursday when the Cannabis Control Commission approved Boston’s first recreational pot shop.
It’s not much to look at yet on Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester with paper still covering the windows, but the approval for Pure Oasis is also the first license granted under the so-called Economic Empowerment Program and the new owners are feeling the pressure to get it right.
“To not only operate a sustainable, viable business, but we also want to pave the way for businesses coming after us,” said co-owner Kevin Hart. “It means a lot to be the first to break barriers and create opportunities for others,” said co-owner Kobie Evans.
By law, state regulators are required to give priority review to applicants considered to be in neighborhoods that have been heavily impacted by the war on drugs to make sure they are part of the new legal cannabis industry. “What we’ve done is taken the first step which is an important mandate to help people from these communities participate in the industry,” said Cannabis Control Commission Chairman Steve Hoffman.
The Commission has been criticized for its slow pace in approving these licenses and the city in approving host agreements. But in the Dorchester neighborhood, many finally see Pure Oasis as just that.
“I think it’s best to buy from here, at least you know what you’re getting from here. On the streets you don’t know what you’re getting,” said Chanelin Dorest.
“We need some more outlets for jobs,” said Lanice Mikell at a nearby barbershop. “It would also deter black market weed selling and that is a good thing.”
Some residents hope the shop won’t inundate the neighborhood with traffic, but they like the owners’ pledge to provide economic opportunities. “Everyone knows Boston and Massachusetts need to address economic inequality and this is one measure to stem the tide,” said Kobie Evans.
After final inspections they hope to open the doors within a month.