The cannabis shop proposal by Charlestown’s Jack Kelly announced this week it has lined up political support for its proposal at the old R. Wesley’s Bistro on Sullivan Square – support that includes Councilor Lydia Edwards, State Rep. Dan Ryan and the Charlestown Coalition.
R2 is currently within the process, and has a competing proposal down Cambridge Street within the half-mile buffer zone. The other proposal has yet to garner the same support, and is publicly opposed by Councilor Edwards.
Kelly said he was happy to receive the support of the elected officials for Charlestown, and the MGH-backed Coalition as well. He said he is a life-long resident of the Town and his reputation rests on how he would conduct this business. He said gaining the confidence of leaders on his proposal was a big step forward.
State Rep. Ryan said he was confident R2 met the requirements and is committed to the neighborhood.
“I am confident that R2 Resilient Remedies is more than qualified to meet community expectations and concerns,” he wrote. “I have personally known the proponents for many years. I know their commitment to the local neighborhood is utmost in their mind as they attempt to proceed forward with this venture. I have also heard from community residents, some of whom were not necessarily pro-cannabis, that believe the R2 team has presented a clear case as to their ability to effectively operate such a business.”
Ryan added that he supports Jack Kelly and his proposal first and foremost, but would be “more than happy to support anyone that gets a license.”
Edwards, who has been very critical this week of the competing proposal, said she supports Kelly and the R2 team. She said she’s confident they can overcome any obstacles that present themselves.
“From the time that the City began reviewing applications for marijuana establishments, it has been my preference that neighborhood residents be granted HCAs where possible,” she said. “While I understand that some members of the Charlestown community still have concerns about the possible negative impacts of a marijuana dispensary being located in Sullivan Square, I have full confidence in this ownership group’s ability to address those concerns. During the community outreach meeting held last week the proposal was well received by local residents. My office has received letters of support for this application from over 100 Charlestown residents and The Charlestown Coalition, a social services organization focused on substance abuse prevention, education, and recovery services.”
The Charlestown Coalition and its parent, MGH Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI), also endorsed the R2 plan, noting that Kelly has been an active volunteer and participant of their Coalition for years.
“An anchor strategy of our work is to support locally owned and operated business,” the letter read. “We recognize that over 50 cannabis retail stores will open throughout Boston and feel strongly that a Charlestown location should be owned and operated by a current Charlestown resident who is committed to improving the health of Charlestown. Jack Kelly has consistently demonstrated his commitment to this community.”