The city’s comfort level with the retail marijuana market has come a long way.
Concerns about upticks in crime and unsavory activity surrounding legal retail marijuana establishments have faded since the city granted its first license in 2018, and that’s why it wasn’t all that unusual last week when the Planning Board approved an amendment to one of the city’s economic empowerment retailers so they can offer home delivery.
Nobody came to the meeting Wednesday to speak against the amendment that the Corner Emporium on Jackson Street sought allowing it to deliver marijuana to retail customers from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The location of planters outside, and the possibility of dressing up the former Ivy Corset Building at 36 and 40 Jackson St. a little bit with more landscaping, marked the extent of the discussion on the Corner’s application to amend its special permit for adult-use retail marijuana. There was no public opposition and no board discussion, and Planning Board Chair Albert LaValley noted that the board tends to be enthusiastic about granting approvals for economic empowerment entrepreneurs.
The state Cannabis Control Commission gives priority status to economic empowerment applicants. The purpose of the Economic Empowerment Program is to ensure that people from communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana law enforcement are included in the legal marijuana industry. The Corner Emporium is one of three such group in the city to receive the designation.
“I think we’re all happy to support this,” LaValley said Wednesday.
The Planning Board approved a similar amendment to allow delivery for another economic empowerment applicant, Major Bloom on Millbury Street, in March.
Representing The Corner Emporium, Attorney Mark Borenstein of Bowditch & Dewey said his client has received a provisional license from the state, and is in the process of selecting a general contractor to build out second-floor space at the Jackson Street building.
Borenstein said the addition of a delivery component will add three to four staff initially, and he said the goal is to add more delivery staff as it expands.
According to a copy of the delivery plan the Corner Emporium submitted to the Planning Board, delivering marijuana to customers will be a much more closely monitored and safeguarded process compared to garden-variety retail food delivery. It will be a two-person operation, and the process of unloading and loading the product into locked containers in the nondescript vehicle will be recorded on video.
The maximum retail value of the product in the vehicle is $10,000, and employees will be trained in a host of areas, from recognizing indications of impairment to deescalating potentially dangerous situations.
The city has capped the number of retail marijuana businesses at 15. There is no cap, however, for marijuana cultivation, product manufacturing or microbusinesses.
Ballot order for preliminary election
The Election Commission last week set the order on the ballot for the Sept. 14 preliminary election for District 1 and District 5 City Council races.
Do they just draw names out of a hat? Well yes, they do.
Overseen by City Clerk Nikolin Vangjeli, the old-school process is still the fairest way to do it, and there was Deputy City Clerk A.J. Pottle on Wednesday evening, folding little pieces of paper and tossing them in a hat. Election commissioners then pulled and read the names.
The number of candidates in District 1 and District 5 races triggered a Sept. 14 preliminary election for those seats, which will be narrowed down to two candidates per race.
Here’s how it went:
District 1: Richard Cipro, David Shea, Sean Rose (incumbent).
District 5: Yenni Desroches, Stephen Quist, Gregory Stratman, Etel Haxhiaj.
Aug. 25 is the last day to register to vote in the preliminary election. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 2.
The last day to register to vote in the general election is Oct. 13.
Contact Steven H. Foskett Jr. at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveFoskettTG