430 Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester, Massachusetts, is set to become the site of the first recreational marijuana shop in the state conceived by economic empowerment applicants.
Kobie Evans and Kevin Hart are the masterminds behind Pure Oasis.
Kobie Evans and Kevin Hart, Bostonians out of the state’s ground-breaking Social Equity program, are the masterminds behind Pure Oasis. The store is one of the 14 host community agreements that the city of Boston signed with cannabusinesses; three of those 14 are social equity success stories. Evans and Hart are reaping the benefits of Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission’s work to implement diversity in the blooming cannabis industry.
Since marijuana legalization in 2016, the CCC has been working to initiate cannabusiness into the state’s income, and especially emphasizing minority entrepreneurs; the demographic only made up five of a possible 123 social equity permits recently allocated. The Commission has, as of late, built up a reputation for slow licensing times, so unleashing nine HCAs is a huge step for the minority entrepreneurs of East Boston, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, and Fenway.
Pure Oasis and the city of Boston secured a Host Community Agreement on February 7, 2019, which enables the store to register as a “licensed Recreational Marijuana Retailer.” This agreement, from the Office of Emerging Industries, regulates business aspects such as payment portals from Pure Oasis to the city, how taxable income is applied, signage, hours of potential operation, terms and causes of termination for the agreement, and security measures, in addition to obligations from the city’s perspective. These HCAs are a cause of strife for some companies in the beginning stages of business license application. Still, Evans and Hart found solid ground upon which to cultivate their business through this document.
Pure Oasis was granted a business license in July 2019
Now that Pure Oasis is looking forward to getting up and running, the HCA helps to set the tone for the March 12 meeting of the Boston Zoning Board of Appeal. Pure Oasis was granted a business license in July 2019, a breakthrough for social justice in cannabis, but struggled to complete the rest of the process. The certificate of occupancy for the structure at 430 Blue Hill Avenue is the final step before being awarded municipal approval for the store.
“Any African-American male like myself and my partner who grows up in the inner city has come literally face-to-face with a police officer sticking a gun in our face or being stopped and frisked for no reason,” Evans said. “It’s normalized to us and unfortunately people don’t realize it has long-lasting traumatic effects.”
The last step is to obtain permission from the Cannabis Control Commission, so Pure Oasis can officially become Boston’s newest business. On top of the success story that the company tells, Evans and Hart plan to create a business accelerator for other minorities seeking entrepreneurial entry into cannabusiness.
“It’s bittersweet,” Evans said. “We want to make sure other people are coming from the inner cities who have the same opportunity that we do. The outlook is real bleak right now.”