tito jackson
Tito Jackson is entering the marijuana business. Photo: Samantha J. Gross

Former Boston mayoral candidate Tito Jackson has switched career gears, leaving politics to enter the world of marijuana.

Jackson has been tapped as the CEO of Verdant Medical Inc., a nonprofit medical marijuana company that hopes to open dispensaries in Massachusetts.

“I know many will critique this new role as counterintuitive to my aspirations in running for Mayor of Boston, but I have decided to redefine the definition of success and redirect my energy to focus on tangible change and real outcomes,” Jackson said in a statement, according to the Boston Business Journal.

As a former city councilor and in his run for mayor, Jackson stressed his wants to make Boston a more fair city for lower-income residents by addressing housing and other economic issues. He said that this move will help him achieve those goals in a different way.

 

“In this new role, I will create well-paying jobs that will allow people to create opportunities for themselves,” he said. “I am taking this position so I can be the change I want to see in Massachusetts and directly impact income inequality, the wealth gap and criminal justice reform."

He said that the employees at the Verdant Medical dispensaries will be paid $15 an hour.

Jackson has long supported legal marijuana as a way to generate taxes and to make the city more equitable. In April 2017, quoting “the poet Tupac,” he told the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy that there should be a "war on poverty, not on drugs.” 

That position put him at odds with Mayor Marty Walsh, whom he challenged for mayor in 2016. Walsh did not support marijuana legalization, saying instead that it would fuel the state’s opioid epidemic.

Before his mayoral run, Jackson represented Roxbury as an at-large Boston City Councilor. Verdant Medical has received provisional approval from the state to open a dispensary in Randolph.

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