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Boston Pressed On Selection Process For Marijuana Shops

“We don’t want people to take their ball and go home”

This neighborhood ain’t big enough for the both of them.

Two marijuana companies, one from Arizona and the other with local owners, are applying to open dispensaries on the same block of Hyde Park Avenue. But Boston’s zoning rules prohibit licensed cannabis businesses from opening within a half-mile of one another. So who stays and who goes? City Hall isn’t saying.

As frustration mounts among marijuana entrepreneurs, the City Council has called a hearing to gather feedback and press the administration of Mayor Martin J. Walsh on its process for selecting applicants. A top concern for a number of councilors: prioritizing firms owned by Boston residents, especially those from minority neighborhoods where disproportionate numbers of people were arrested for marijuana crimes before the drug’s legalization.

“We don’t want people to take their ball and go home,” said Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who along with Councilor Timothy McCarthy proposed the hearing for early fall. “We want aspiring small-business owners from Boston to be able to participate, especially people from communities that have been left behind.”

 

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