More than three years after Massachusetts voters legalized adult-use cannabis, Boston's first legal weed shop is finally ready to open for business.
This week, the state Cannabis Control Commission issued a notice authorizing Pure Oasis, LLC to open for business this coming Monday. The opening of this shop marks a major milestone in the state’s legal weed industry. Not only is Pure Oasis the first legal weed store to open in Boston, but it’s also the first business to be licensed under Massachusetts’ economic empowerment program.
Although other adult-use states have retroactively created social equity programs, the Bay State is the first state to roll social equity incentives into its initial adult-use regulations. The state's economic empowerment program offers minorities, people who have been convicted for minor drug crimes, or residents of communities disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs, assistance with getting involved in the legal weed industry.
Massachusetts legalized adult-use cannabis sales over a year ago, and the state's legal weed shops have already raked in half a billion dollars as a result. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh chose to delay the rollout of legal weed sales in his city, however, and passed an ordinance to prioritize business applications from diverse candidates. The city has now signed agreements with 14 weed businesses, three of which are economic empowerment applicants.
Now, at long last, these delays have paid off, and two local black entrepreneurs are experiencing their dream of opening Boston's first legal weed shop. Pure Oasis co-owners Kobie Evans and Kevin Hart said that they have held job fairs in Dorchester, the neighborhood where their shop is located. So far, the business has hired four employees, but eventually plans to expand its staff to 30 positions.
“On behalf of the entire team at Pure Oasis, we are excited to reach this important moment where we will open our doors as the first retail cannabis business in Boston and as the first economic empowerment candidate in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," said Evans and Hart in a statement, according to ABC affiliate WCVB5.
"We want to thank the Cannabis Control Commission for their ongoing support every step of the way, Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston for their willingness to assist us through this process since day one, the City Council and the community who has embraced us,” the statement continues. “We look forward to providing legal marijuana to adults 21-years and older and we will welcome our first customers on Monday, March 9th at 11am.”
"It's been a very long road,” said Evans to WBUR. “So, you know, to finally see daylight is beyond ecstatic. I don't even know if we have words for where we're at emotionally about being at this point. We're excited."