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Massachusetts weighs final approval of first minority-owned dispensary

February 6, 2020

Massachusetts is set to approve its first minority-owned retail dispensary, more than three years after voters approved the nation’s first cannabis law aimed at encouraging racial minorities and others harmed by the war on drugs to participate in the new industry.

The state’s Cannabis Control Commission is voting Thursday on a final license for Pure Oasis, a dispensary proposed in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood by local Black entrepreneurs Kobie Evans and Kevin Hart.

If approved, Pure Oasis would also become Boston’s first licensed cannabis shop.

The pending approval comes as Black and Latino groups complain Massachusetts and others that have legalized recreational cannabis are still falling far short of their promises to carve a space for minorities in the burgeoning national industry.

Pure Oasis is among more than 100 operators that have been certified under the state’s so-called “equity” programs for minority and disadvantaged marijuana businesses owners.

But of those equity applicants, only 10 have been granted provisional licenses. The state has issued more than 260 cannabis licenses to date.

Massachusetts currently has more than 30 retail marijuana locations, but only one is located in greater Boston: New England Treatment Access in the affluent suburb of Brookline.

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