Two marijuana store proposals are likely going to collide in a head-to-head competition for the right to have the Town’s first marijuana dispensary – with both having public meetings this month and both being proposed on Cambridge Street in the Lost Village about a block apart.
Due to the City’s existing half-mile buffer zone rule, championed by Councilor Michael Flaherty some years ago, the two proposals in the slated locations cannot exist in tandem, so only one will get a Host Community Agreement from the City that allows them to move ahead in the state process. Such competitions have played out already in other parts of the city, most notably in the South End where a Back Bay company competed against a Rhode Island company for a license there. The Rhode Island company eventually prevailed in getting the City Agreement – and signed a separate agreement with the neighborhood as well – and will be opening its doors this month.
In Charlestown, marijuana proposals have not been as forthcoming as in other parts of the City. Already, Charlestown’s Jack Kelly has made public his intentions known to open Resilient Remedies, which is a retail marijuana shop under the state social equity program located at 31 Cambridge St. in the old R. Wesley’s Bistro. He announced that last summer and said he intended to move forward with a community meeting this fall. That online meeting will take place this month on Oct. 22 at 6 p.m.
Now, however, another proposal with deep Townie roots has also entered the arena at 116 Cambridge St. as Maggie Suprey, 31, who has deep roots in the Town but grew up in South Boston, is partnering with Nike John, 28, of Dorchester, to bring a competing social equity retail and delivery operation to that site. That particular site – across from the Dunkin Donuts – once had a proposal a few years ago under the name Bloominus and championed by former Councilor Sal LaMattina. That proposal has been removed and is now replaced by the Heritage Club Retail and Delivery plan.
Heritage and Resilient Remedies will seemingly go head-on in an apparent competition for one of the Town’s licenses. There potentially could be another on the other side of the Town according to the half-mile buffer.
“I think it’s safe to say we have concerns that we’re going up against Jack Kelly because he’s a well-known political person and well-liked in the neighborhood,” said Suprey. “He was the liaison for Charlestown under Mayor Menino and he has the benefit of having been endorsed in the past by key members in the license process. We’re very hopeful the Board will choose in the spirit of true equity.”
Suprey and John both went to high school together at Nobles & Greenough School, and Suprey attended Brown University and played ice hockey and lacrosse there. Her father grew up in Charlestown, one of 10 siblings and she still has family in the Town. Both operate the Vibe Residential Real Estate company, with John as the founder and Suprey as the real estate attorney for the company.
They said they have been seeking to get into the marijuana industry for the past year, and John – a woman of color – attended the same social equity class that Kelly also attended last year.
“We are applying for a retail and delivery license, with a plan to operate a retail shop on that site,” said John. “Our plan is to focus on the delivery aspect and encourage customers to utilize that. We think operating the delivery will mitigate the community concerns with traffic and more people coming into the area.”
They do have an eye on addiction issues, and have someone in recovery on their advisory board. Likewise, they also want to be able to help the community with eviction protections and other supports like surveillance cameras to help the Lost Village.
Both said this would be a woman-owned, and minority-owned proposal that is part of the high-priority social equity program. John said there are fewer than 5 percent of the dispensaries in Boston owned by women and/or minorities.
The actual location would utilize a 3,000 sq. ft. building for a retail store and delivery service, and it has parking on site. John said they might add a second floor to create office and administrative space.
The online community meeting for Heritage Club will take place on Oct. 29 at 6 p.m.