A new era will begin in Boston when the city’s first recreational cannabis store throws open its doors on Monday.
Pure Oasis is located at 430 Grove Hill Avenue in Roxbury area of south Boston. The city states that Roxbury serves as the “heart of black culture in Boston”, and Pure Oasis will be the first minority-owned marijuana business in Massachusetts.
Owners Kobie Evans and Kevin Hart said in a press release that they would open the store at 11 a.m. on Monday. “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,” they said.
Last year it was revealed that 182 of 184 marijuana business licenses in Massachusetts had gone to white people. A group called Real Action for Cannabis Equity in Boston formed to fight for more opportunities for minority business owners in the state and across the country.
Boston City Council responded by creating an independent cannabis board in an effort to help more entrepreneurs from minority backgrounds set up marijuana businesses. It ruled that in future at least 50% of new licenses must go to individuals and companies from communities affected by the war on drugs, or “equity” applicants.
The state’s Cannabis Control Commission voted to award Pure Oasis a license last month. Evans and Hart thanked the CCC, the City of Boston and Mayor Marty Walsh for their help in completing the licensing process.
This week Walsh announced the five members of the city’s independent cannabis board: Licensing Board chair Kathleen Joyce, former city health commissioner Monica Valdes Lupi, Greater Boston Labor Council executive secretary-treasurer Darlene Lombos, former Boston Police Department Superintendent Lisa Homes and John Smith, a director at a Boston-based nonprofit consultancy firm.
The members will serve two-year terms. They will earn $600 a day, and they are prohibited from financially benefiting from any cannabis company in the city in order to keep them impartial.
Boston has also created Massachusetts’ first local fund to support minority-owned cannabis companies. It will divert marijuana tax revenues towards offering business and technical assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs.
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