Over 100 people filled the Tynan School’s cafeteria to discuss the proposed cannabis shop at at 538 East First Street. A very special thank you to Jenn Menjin on sharing her copious notes with CIS!
Here’s a recap of the highlights (and in some cases lowlights)
Holland Brands SB, LLC is the group that wants to open the shop in South Boston. The reason the location of East First Street was selected was due to the fact it is in the more industrial part of the town and not smack dab in the heart of the residential neighborhood. Also cannabis shops can’t open within 500 feet of a school.
Members of Holland Brand explained that each patron of the shop will sign a “Good Neighbor Waiver” basically promising the patron will not use the products illegally or on the the property of the shop. If a patrons is caught breaking the law, they will not longer will be able to shop there.
The owners will be working closely with the BPD in addition to having their own unarmed security team. They estimate they will have 15-30 full-time job opportunities which they would like to hire from the neighborhood. There will be 35 parking spots with the potential for neighborhood use during off-hours. The plan is to be open seven days a week from 9am-10pm. They quickly added that the hours are negotiable when the crowd erupted into boos.
An estimated $10 million in revenue is expected in the first year of business with a plan to give back to the neighborhood of South Boston. All packaging of their products will be RFID tagged so if 16-yea-old (let’s call him Kevin) is caught with some products, they can scan the packaging and find out who supplied Kevin with it.
The Q&A Section of the meeting – always a fan favorite
95% of the people who were called on to speak, spoke in opposition. It was a lot of the usual “How would you feel if someone wanted to open one of these across the street from your house”? One of the gentlemen on the panel stated that he actually lives two blocks from NETA and that it does not affect his day to day life.
One person was concerned that there is a BPD officers shortage and how will the BPD find officers to fill details at the cannabis shop.
Naturally, St. Patrick’s Day was brought up and some residents were concerned that people would be flocking to to the shop to get high. (Editor’s note – a parade goer high on cannabis is waaaayyyyy better than a parade goer drunk as a skunk.) If Captain Boyle from C6 recommended they close for the day, the owners would be more than happy to oblige the request.
One woman who has been in involved in the cannabis industry for five years wanted to know more about the background of the owners. One owner has been involved in the industry for five years. He watched his mother suffer from breast cancer and saw how cannabis helped her pain.
Someone brought up the fact that there are AA and NA meetings in the neighborhood and asked, “What’s gonna stop someone struggling with addiction to say forget this and start doing drugs again because marijuana is a gateway drug?” (Paraphrasing)
There were three people that were brave enough to stand up and say they were in support of the cannabis shop. One person pointed out it’s not just people smoking weed in an alley. There are lots of different products like oils, edibles, etc. that help people.
City Councilor Ed Flynn voiced concern about the traffic problems and that they will need to be addressed.
One woman asked what the City is going to do for the neighborhood if “we let this in.”
There are no more community meetings. The next meeting will be ZBA hearing at City Hall in the next several months.
Eddie McGuire from Mayor Marty Walsh’s office ran the meeting. Haley Dillon from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services was in attendance in addition to Rep. David Biele and representatives from City Councilor Michael Flaherty’s office, Senator Nick Collins’ office and Congressman Stephen Lynch’s office.
Have questions about cannabis shops in Boston and what it means? Read this!