Big recreational marijuana Boston news alert, folks: while there are reasons to manage your expectations, we’re pleased to announced that residents in the Hub finally have something to get excited about on the recreational marijuana front.
When will the first recreational marijuana Boston store open?
Cannabis retailer Ascend announced last week that it was awarded the first conditional-use permit from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals, paving the way for what could become Boston’s first recreational cannabis dispensary. If all goes according to plan for Ascend, the space at 272 Friend Street — just blocks from Faneuil Hall and TD Garden — would be the first retail recreational marijuana operation in a major east coast city.
Sound ambitious? Not only that, the reportedly 16,932-square-foot structure will include three floors of retail space, and undergo a substantial remodeling that the company estimates could take anywhere from six to nine months.
Representatives for Ascend indicated to city officials that, when open, their store could see as many as 200 to 300 customers a day, with the retail space able to accommodate up to 80 recreational marijuana Boston customers at a time.
Ascend representatives have said that they hope their flagship store will serve as a model for other dispensaries in the state: both in services offered to their customers and as a responsible corporate citizen.
Newbies or those revisiting cannabis in light of its recent decriminalization, can expect one-on-one consultations with experts who can help you get on your feet. More efficient-minded shoppers can make use of an online platform that allows customers to order ahead and pick up the goods without waiting in line.
Value-conscious consumers should also take note that Ascend is working with Suffolk County Sheriff to hire recently released offenders – following job training and attendance in anti-recidivism programs – for both its store and planned cultivation facility in Athol, a move that CEO Andrea Cabral has said she hopes catches on in the industry.
“This is going to be a very different kind of cannabis company,” Cabral told the Boston Globe last year. “Clearly our purpose is to sell cannabis, but because Massachusetts took such a strong approach to social equity in its regulations, there’s a real opportunity to balance profits against conscience.”
The store will offer both Ascend-branded cannabis products, as well as a rotating selection of offerings from other brands.
Recreational marijuana Boston: What’s next for Ascend?
The conditional-use permit will allow Ascend to begin its remodeling of the space at 272 Friend Street, but the company still needs to secure a state license from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission to actually sell any marijuana products there.
Barring any unforeseen hurdles — and let’s be honest, there’s no shortage of hurdles for companies looking to open a dispensary in Massachusetts — Ascend says they hope to open their doors to customers in late 2019.