Grow, Gift, Repair


Only two vendors are open statewide, but dozens of applications are in the works. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says he expects the first Boston retailer to open sometime next year.

But among the concerns raised by city council members is the lack of diversity among applicants.

City Councilor and Congresswoman-elect Ayanna Pressley said a similar lack of diversity tainted the rollout of medicinal marijuana.

“There were 182 applicants, eight provisional licenses awarded, [and only] one to a person of color,” Pressley said. “There are immediate lessons we can learn about what was prohibitive and unintended consequences from medicinal marijuana where we did not see equity.”

Pressley said the city needs to reach out more aggressively to encourage minority applicants.

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commissioner Shaleen Title said the businesses that are making their way toward getting licensed do not represent the diversity the commission, or councilors, want to see.

I only have one statistic to share today, and it is a nauseating statistic,” Title said. “As of our last meeting we had issued 76 provisional licenses to businesses, and not one of those businesses has identified as a minority-owned business.