The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) in Massachusetts announced that it has issued the first provisional license to a recreational cannabis dispensary in Boston.
Pure Oasis, a dispensary opening in the Dorchester neighborhood, is the first retail cannabis shop to receive a license as well as the first Economic Empowerment Applicant to receive a license, a category reserved for racial minorities, people with drug convictions and those previously affected by the “War on Drugs.” The category was created to help Boston address the initial lack of minority applicants for licenses. Only 10 applicants so far are Economic Empowerment Applicants according to the CCC. The CCC plans to start a “social equity” program that it will offer to applicants in the fall.
“It’s kind of challenging when you are a small business and you don’t have the money to hire someone to write your application, money to pay lobbyists and lawyers,” Pure Oasis co-owner Kobie Evans said.
Once approved, Pure Oasis will have to pay a license fee, go through a post-provisional inspection, begin registering cannabis establishment agents and fingerprint and prepare their staff to meet certain CCC requirements established for the license. To officially open doors, the CCC must again inspect the business and the shop must have all inventory tagged and uploaded in the seed-to-sale-tracking system.
“It’s an important milestone,” said Commission Chairman Steven Hoffman. “I’m extraordinarily proud of all of us to have gotten to this point. We are just beginning. We have a lot of work to do here.”
Some in the cannabis industry have criticized the city of Boston for its slowness in getting its recreational cannabis industry up and running. Licenses haven’t been evenly distributed across Massachusetts, with the most approved licenses in Worcester County. The disparity can be credited to municipal licensing practices with some areas of the state more open to cannabis businesses than others.