Recreational Marijuana Dispensary/Social Justice Museum Proposed for Old Milky Way Site

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A recreational marijuana company with an empowerment philosophy has proposed opening a dispensary/social justice museum in the long vacant old Milky Way space on Centre Street.

"Core Empowerment intends to open the city of Boston's first high quality retail cannabis establishment and social justice museum/education center," said Tomas Gonzalez, one of the four owners of Core Empowerment, LLC to Jamaica Plain News via email.

Gonzalez grew up in Jamaica Plain, previously ran for Boston City Council and was recently the deputy director for the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services. He currently lives in Hyde Park.

Gonzalez said the business would be in the lower level of 401A Centre St. and that it would offer "our customers over 6,000 square feet of space to enjoy and engage with a luxurious dispensary and social justice museum." It would have an "apothecary aesthetic" that would also be welcoming to medical marijuana patients.

The business would sell oil-based and flower marijuana products, as well as paraphernalia. The proposed business hours are from 10 am to 10 pm.

According to Gonzalez, the location meets local zoning requirements for marijuana dispensaries as it would be 500 feet away from a public or private, primary and secondary school and 1/2 mile from the nearest cannabis business.

But he added the company received a rejection letter from Boston's Inspectional Services Department (ISD) after submitting their proposal.

ISD spokesperson Lisa Timberlake said the business was "refused for a conditional use permit for cannabis. All cannabis establishments are conditional in business districts and forbidden in residential districts and they all require Zoning Board of Appeal approval prior to permit issuance."

Core Empowerment is scheduled to appear at the next Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Association meeting on Oct. 17th. He added they are meeting with neighborhood groups, abutters, business groups and owners to gain support. There will also be a community meeting in the future.

The company's innovative and empowering business plan includes having a diverse minority- and women-ownership team, a management team of women and minorities, local investors, local employees, and educational programs to inform the public about legal cannabis and its impact, said Gonzalez. He added that many investors are people of color who live in Boston.

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