Blue Hill Avenue, located in Grove Hall, a section of Dorchester, is the first neighborhood in Boston to open the first recreational dispensary.
Pure Oasis is the state of Massachusetts’ first black-owned, as well as first recreational, dispensary to open. It’s common knowledge that people of color have struggled to make it in the cannabis industry. Massachusetts cannabis ballot initiative was the first to insert specific language to encourage people of color to get into the industry.
Blue Hill Avenue is one of the parts of Dorchester harmed the most by the war on drugs. It’s the perfect place to get an opportunity to run a lucrative cannabis business. The store currently employs approximately 30 people and the majority of them are in walking distance to the shop. The owners were able to hire people with prior criminal records giving them a chance to be employed by a company in a fast-moving industry. Evans, one of the owners, was able to benefit from what’s known as Economic Empowerment status. This enabled the shop to have an expedited application review by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC). To reach this status, the business must employ, be owned by, or benefit people in communities disproportionately criminalized for marijuana.
Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh recently signed an ordinance to provide diverse applicants resources and assistance as well as priority. Three of the 14 dispensaries approved in Boston are economic empowerment applicants. Alexis Tkachuk is the city of Boston’s director of emerging industries, was quoted as saying, “Boston is focused on equity in the industry.”
Tkachuk claims several more cannabis shops could be opening in the upcoming months and largely depends on the state’s process.
Kobie Evans and business partner Kevin Hart have been fighting to open their dispensary since recreational marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts in 2016. They have deep roots in Grove Hall and are thrilled to be Boston’s first. Patrons lined up in droves at the opening; the shop is sure to stay busy. The community is supportive of their efforts, and all will be welcomed with a large green sign that reads,
“Welcome to Pure Oasis. Grove Hall. Boston’s First.”