Pot shop could flower on Roslindale's garden row

Mike Ross explains marijuana proposal

Company lawyer and former City Councilor Mike Ross talks as company treasurer Brendan McKee listens.

A company about to open its first pot shop in Williamstown hopes to come to the other side of the state and turn a gardening and flower shop on American Legion Highway in Roslindale into a dispensary that would offer pot to both medicinal users and people who just want to get high.

Silver Therapeutics owners, who have a tentative 40-year lease on the City Farm property, aid they would tear down most of the current garden shop, which they described as in poor shape, but would keep part of one greenhouse for use as a training area for local residents looking to get into the marijuana business. The store itself would have roughly 3,000 square feet of space.

Most of the company's owners are out-of-towners, but one investor is Bruce Bickerstaff of Roxbury - a member of the city zoning board. It also has a local lawyer and security consultant - former City Councilor Mike Ross is handling legal issues and former BPD Superintendent Joseph Harris security matters.

At a meeting of the MHCM/American Legion Neighborhoods Association tonight, residents expressed concerns about traffic, crime, children and landscaping.

Traffic

American Legion Highway is a commuter shortcut full of curb cuts for both stores and residences - with virtually non-existent MBTA bus service. Residents worried that a store that might see 350 customers a day would only exacerbate traffic and lead to customers doing stupid stuff like double parking on the busy road.

Ross said the shop would put in around 16 parking spaces in the rear - and that there is enough room in back to add more parking if required. He said the store's entrance would also be in the back - there would be no entrance in the front to attract passers by. The company hopes to hire a traffic consultant to look at traffic issues and design an entrance and exit that would minimize impacts on the roadway.

Crime

Residents expressed concern about people using their backyards to try to break into the store and rob it, and about the sort of element a pot shop would attract to the neighborhood.

Ross said Harris obviously knows from security. Company President Joshua Silver said that stores no longer have to have large amounts of cash on hand, because Massachusetts banks have begun giving accounts to marijuana companies, which lets them do many of their transactions electronically. The marijuana in the store - which would be delivered from a company growing facility in Orange - is kept in a vault, Ross said.

Capt. Joseph Gillespie of District E-18 said he had reviewed the company's initial security plan and pronounced it good.

Although some residents were convinced, others were not buying it. One said he likes being in a safe neighborhood with little crime. "This is the first time I've ever been concerned about living here," he said. Another resident, though, said he worried the shop would lead to more incidents like one in which his neighbors were tied up and robbed by home invaders who masqueraded as police.

Residents worried about people buying pot and then distributing it to local kids, which led to the next big concern:

Children

Residents noted the proposed location is right across American Legion from the Home for Little Wanderers and down the street from the Haley School. There's also a nearby DYS facility and a Mormon church. One resident recalled how easy it was for him to get liquor once he turned 12. Even if kids are barred from the over-21 store, what's to stop customers from sharing their goods with local kids?

Ross said everything the store would sell would be in a bag with an embedded RFID chip, so in the unlikely event that happened, the store could trace the product back to the customer. and not only ban him permanently but report him to police.

Landscaping

American Legion Highway is, technically, a parkway whose commercial neighbors are, in theory at least, supposed to help create a "green belt" along the road.

Ross said Silver Therapeutics would be more than happy to work with residents on a landscaping plan that could include a bike lane.

Next steps

The company said it would begin one-on-one discussions with direct neighbors with specific concerns - such as one who asked about possibly putting in a fence between the shop's property and his residential complex. It plans to come back to the association with more detailed security and landscaping plans.

If those meetings go well, the company would then negotiate with the mayor's office for a "host agreement" that would specify how the company would meet neighborhood concerns. If it gets such an agreement, it would then go before the Zoning Board of Appeals for its approval at a public hearing - Bickerstaff said he would recuse himself from any such hearing. Then, finally, the company would apply to the state Cannabis Control Commission for a license.

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Comments

Romance sonambulo (green, how I want you green)

a dispensary that would offer pot to both medicinal users and people who just want to get high.

A dispensary that would offer pot to both medicinal users and recreational pot consumers who want to get high and/or consume the product for medicinal reasons without having an MMJ card after showing their legal identification and procuring a product that MA voted to legalize.

FTFY.

Also, Mike Ross is serving up some serious silver foxiness in that photo (those glasses! Be still my heart!)...but it seems from this meeting that the concerns of the community were heard and taken into account.

Looking forward to see where this goes.

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LOL

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Also, Mike Ross is serving up some serious silver foxiness in that photo

Honestly he looks like Bob Saget

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11

Nevertheless, Danny Tanner could get it

Cybah, you are seriously underestimating how much I want to [expletive] Bob Saget, haha

Here's the requisite dialogue from "Half Baked" (which is maybe what Ross was alluding to with this look?):

Thurgood: I'm here today because I'm addicted..to marijuana.
Rehab patient: You in here 'cuz of marijuana?! Man, this is some BULLSH*T!
Bob Saget/Cocaine addict: Marijuana is not a drug. I used to suck d*ck for coke.
Rehab patient: I seen him do it!
Bob Saget/Cocaine addict: Now that's an addiction, man. You ever suck some d*ck for marijuana?
Thurgood: No, I can't say I have.
Bob Saget/Cocaine addict: I didn't think so

Neighbor-ly day in this beautywood

What if Mr. Rogers was the greatest pot dealer that we've ever known and it was right in front of our eyes?

The graham cracker factory, hanging out with his friend Wynton Marsalis, those puppets in the Land of Make Believe? The idea of Fred Rogers trapping just makes me love him more.

(NOTA BENE: despite the entirety of this comment suggesting otherwise, I have not inhaled the pot grass into my lungs and became high).

Anyone know why there are so

Anyone know why there are so many greenhouses and flower shops on this stretch of American Legion Highway? I wonder about it every time I run by.

Cemeteries

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all of the cemeteries in the area

If anyone is surprised by

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If anyone is surprised by this I'd say they were naive. Only people with privilege are going to be able to open shops. And these same people need to advocate for the release of POC sitting in jail for doing the same thing.

Similarities

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Former councilor Mike Ross is involved with multiple pot businesses all seem to have retired BPD members as security hires. Privilege is all about wealth !!

BPD

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I think the hiring of retired BPD members is as much about public perception as anything. Every one of these shops gets questions about security at public meetings, and it looks a lot better when the security they are hiring are former officers.

Wow

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Allowing black people to get in early on the weed wave seems like the only right thing to do. Seeing as how we've been being arrested for it for the last 40 years.

Upcoming Cannabis Industry Equity hearing: 19 March 2019

(from Kim Janey's newsletter):

An Ordinance Establishing Equity for Boston's Cannabis Industry

Boston City Council Hearing

Sponsored by City Council Kim Janey

DATE: Tuesday, March 19, 2019

TIME: 10:00 AM

LOCATION: Boston City Hall

1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201

5th Floor, Christopher Ianella Chamber