An applicant proposing to open a recreational marijuana dispensary adjacent to Fenway Park presented their plans during Tuesday’s city-sponsored community meeting at the Fenway Community Center.
Ross Bradshaw, who has extensive experience working as a CPA in the medical industry; his sister Amanda, formerly a social worker by trade; and his wife Sirabel, who has professional experience in retail and as a recruiter, would serve as founder and CEO; community education and substance abuse prevention specialist; and retail and economic development specialist, respectively, of DIA (i.e. Diversity in Action). The proposed location for the business is ground floor and basement space in a multi-unit building at 48-62 Brookline Ave., which is also home to the Cask ‘N Flagon.
At 900 square feet, Ross said the dispensary would offer the “biggest waiting room of any
dispensary,” with occupancy for up to 225 customers.
“We guarantee that there will be no lines ever…and we commit to not disrupt any other businesses in the neighborhood, including the Cask ‘N Flagon,” Ross said.
The business would also have its own separate entrance and exit on Lansdowne Street, as well as offer 26 points of sale on game days.
Upon entering the establishment, prospective patrons would have their ages verified using a scanning machine before being escorted to the downstairs queuing area, where they will have an opportunity to learn about the myriad menu offerings. Once customers travel through a secure entrance to reach the sales area, they would receive their purchased products in child-proof, tamper-proof containers. They will then be escorted back onto Lansdowne Street.
Regarding the proposed hours of operation, Ross said, “The hours will be dictated by the city…but we’ll be respectful of the neighborhood we’re in and the ballpark.”
Paul Fitzgerald, a consultant for a security firm headed by former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, said DIA would have a “strong security plan in place,” which mandates that all of its wares would be locked in a secure area that won’t be visible to the public at any time.
“[Davis] puts his reputation behind this company, and he doesn’t do that lightly,” Fitzgerald said.
Dana Van Fleet, owner of the Cask ‘N Flagon and the building where it is located, said he vetted a “slew” of “impressive” would-be dispensary owners referred to him by his real estate broker, but that DIA stood above the competition.
“I think this is an amazing company, and if we’re going to have a dispensary in the neighborhood, that this is a company we can be proud of,” Van Fleet said.
Kim Rivers, a consultant and CEO for the Florida-based, self-described “medical cannabis provider” Trulieve, said her company could provide DIA with seed capital and initial product to help get them to a level where they can compete in the industry.
DIA also intends to operate a 126,00 square-foot cultivation center in Holyoke, Rivers said.
True to its name, Ross pledged that DIA would have a diverse workforce.
“We want to create a company that has the opportunity to change lives of those who have suffered the most from marijuana prohibition,” Ross said, adding that 75 percent of its 50 employees would come form the most impacted Boston communities of Mission Hill, Roxbury and Dorchester, and that the company would hire individuals with non-violent, cannabis-related convictions.
The remaining 25 percent of the workforce would be hired via Fenway Partnerships, which includes the Fenway Civic Association and the Fenway CDC (Community Development Corporation).
Additionally, 15 percent of the store’s shelf space would be reserved for “social equity” and minority” products, Ross said.
Sirabel said DIA employees would also volunteer in the community and contribute to job training and mentoring programs offered by the Fenway Civic Association and the Fenway CDC.
Meanwhile, DIA’s plan, as well its proposed site, were largely lauded by those in attendance.
“Our group is very supportive of this, and the location is ideal,” said Terri North, president of the Kenmore Residents Group, “I also have complete confidence that Dana will do the right thing.”
Fenway resident Marie Fukuda expressed her continuing frustration with the city’s seemingly piecemeal and haphazard approach to courting the numerous applicants intending to open a recreational marijuana dispensary in the neighborhood, however, especially given the stipulation that the establishments must be located within at least a half-mile of each other.
“How many are going to open in the neighborhood?” Fukuda asked.
Dennis Quilty, the applicant’s attorney, responded, “We’re just following the path laid out for us by the city and we’re going to continue until we’re allowed or not allowed [to proceed].”