To date, most of the marijuana drama has come up on Cambridge Street with the Heritage Club, but the competing proposal by Charlestown’s Jack Kelly in Sullivan Square has quietly been moving forward and is hoping for a hearing next week at the Boston Cannabis Board (BCB).
Resilient Remedies (R2) filed its paperwork at about the same time as The Heritage Club, but being a non-equity applicant in Boston (Heritage was a Boston Equity applicant), R2 had to wait in a longer line for their day at the Board, and said this week they are #7 on the list and hope that might equal a trip to the BCB on Dec. 9. The agenda for that meeting hadn’t been published by press time.
“We’re very excited now to be part of the City process and if we’re given an opportunity to have a license – and then get through the state process – we’re ready to go,” said Kelly on Monday. “I’m excited to get the store occupied and the build-out completed and the vision I have rolled out.”
Dot Joyce, who is an investor in the company and holds a five-year lease on the space at the old R.Wesley’s Bistro, said the BCB has informed them this week that R2 is #7 on the list of non-equity applicants ready for a hearing. The process for equity vs. non-equity is a little confusing, and follows a one-to-one process. Equity applicants are permitted to have their application expedited so they don’t have to wait in line once the application is complete and the community process has played out. The BCB takes one equity applicant for every one non-equity applicant at its meetings. “We are #7 and awaiting an appointment from the Board,” said Joyce. “We’re hoping on getting that for the December meeting. That will depend on how many equity applicants that will be there.”
Joyce said they have taken some queues from the previous application on Cambridge Street and are looking carefully at the traffic in their area, which is down from the Lost Village neighborhood. They are using a traffic consultant to look at the situation and have committed to paying for anything required of them.
Kelly said their proposal is quite different from the Heritage in that it’s much smaller. There store is 1,000 sq. ft. and has four points of sale – what he said was more of a boutique operation. Heritage was a much larger store in square footage, he said, and had 15 points of sale.
“I think people tend to like our location because of the size of it,” said Kelly. “It’s the right scale and size for the neighborhood and the right fit for the area.”
That will be part of the pitch they give to the BCB, but there will also need to be more of the nitty gritty of their proposal. Like all potential cannabis operators, Kelly has sought out investors for his proposal. While that includes Joyce, it also includes their main investor, Sean Power. Power would hold a 38 percent stake in the company, with Kelly at 51 percent and Joyce at 11 percent.
Power owns karmadata, a technology health care company he has been the CEO of for 10 years, and has been involved in other health care data companies. Joyce said he suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and, thus, finds the emerging marijuana industry interesting for business and personal reasons. He has also been involved as an advisor to the campaigns of former Dorchester State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry.
Those are the only investors, though, Kelly said, and that was intentional. He said he wanted to have only one investor to look to and he wanted to know that person very well so something doesn’t happen along the way he – and the community – doesn’t approve of.“I wanted to be able to look only one person in the eye,” he said.
According to Kelly and Joyce, there is still a question about how Kelly went from being an equity applicant due to his being incarcerated for drug offenses, and then suddenly not being an equity applicant. Right now, he has a social equity license from the state, but not an economic empowerment designation by the state – which puts him as a non-equity applicant in Boston.
“We still don’t understand that,” he said. “I was equity and then it was rescinded. The premise behind that was it was to be for the War on Drugs and I’m not sure why my convictions don’t count towards that…I don’t understand how you can exclude people from this community. All the pain that drugs and alcohol caused this community and somehow we didn’t get put into that category…Charlestown qualified with the state at one time. I’d still like to know when that happened.”Kelly said that is particularly hurtful to him because he wanted to be an equity applicant because he believes in the concept. He said he still plans to operate his business as a equity company even if there’s no official designation for him in Boston.
“I’m still structuring our company like an equity company,” he said. “I really believe in this stuff. If I didn’t want to be an equity applicant, why wouldn’t I have come in here two years ago? I’m from Charlestown. I came in now because I believe in equity and want to be an equity owner.”
The agenda for the BCB is expected out any day, and that will tell whether or not R2 will be on board for a hearing – or whether they will have to wait for the January meeting. In any case, Kelly said they are ready to go forward.