Grow, Gift, Repair

Black-owned downtown Brockton marijuana dispensary approved

Legal Greens, which hopes to open at 73-75 Pleasant St. in November, has now received a marijuana license from the Brockton City Council.

BROCKTON — Come November, a downtown building near the main fire station will be redesigned, have a facelift and likely be selling marijuana to any interested customers over the age of 21.

The only Black applicant to request a marijuana license from the city council has now received approval to open her business.

Vanessa Jean-Baptiste told city councilors, who unanimously granted her license Monday night, that she plans to open Legal Greens at 73-75 Pleasant St. this fall. Her business is part of the state’s economic empowerment program aimed at helping racial minorities and others disproportionately impacted by marijuana criminalization.

CEO Mark Bouquet said the marijuana business will employ 16 to 20 local part- and full-time residents, paying at least $17 per hour. The business expects it will operate daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The business has repaved the parking lot behind the building that is entered by Hereford Street. Customers will be required to exit the lot left onto Hereford Street, toward Spring Street, rather than entering Pleasant Street.

“My biggest concern with this location, I would fully admit, as everyone else would, is traffic flow — busy street, not only with vehicles, (but) with people walking,” said Ward 3 Councilor Dennis Eaniri.

Bouquet said the dispensary will have security, “cameras all over” and make sure that no products get into the hands of anyone under the age of 21, because the owners don’t want to risk losing their license from the Cannabis Control Commission.

Jean-Baptiste told councilors that she, Bouquet and owner-partner Michael Maloney want to be part of downtown redevelopment in Brockton.

“Downtown is going through its own renovations and we want to be part of the new revival in downtown,” she said.

Councilor-at-large Winthrop Farwell, in response to concerns about the proposed location and potential traffic, said he didn’t believe the council should tell a business where it should open.

“If someone is willing to put their time and their talent and their effort into a business and they’re putting private investment money behind that business and as long as it isn’t a public safety matter, I don’t think it’s up to me to pass judgment on that,” he said. “I don’t know the best places to open restaurants and I don’t know the best places to open yours.”

Councilor-at-large Tina Cardoso said the council — and many residents — are looking up to the business because it’s minority-owned.

“I hate to put extra pressure on you, but we’re looking up to you to make us proud and make sure you succeed,” she said.

Councilor-at-large Moises Rodrigues granted Jean-Baptiste a host community agreement when he was appointed mayor following Bill Carpenter’s death. Two weeks ago, the council heard proposals from five other marijuana businesses and granted each of them licenses, but delayed Legal Greens’ hearing for 11 days due to what a couple councilors said was missing information in its application.

Rodrigues said during the previous meeting that he was “disgusted” that the council delayed the hearing of the only Black candidate requesting a marijuana license.

On Monday night, the councilor said he hopes Legal Greens is as successful as it can be.

“Please do not cut any corners,” Rodrigues said. “Don’t embarrass us, please.”

Councilor-at-large Rita Mendes said she’s been able to tour the property and see the work being done.

“I can confidently say they’re putting in a lot of work,” she said. “I really have confidence that that place is going to be very successful.”

Bouquet said Legal Greens plans to give back to the city by hosting “impact programs” to mentor youth and work with people being released from prison on reentry into society. The owners also plan to host workshops to teach others how to get into the cannabis industry.