Somerville Marijuana Retail Host Community Agreements Announced

Acting Mayor’s Marijuana Advisory Committee selects three entities based on community criteria

Somerville City Council President Katjana Ballantyne, who is serving as Acting Mayor for the Host Community Agreement process for marijuana retail entities, announced today that she intends to sign Host Community Agreements (HCAs) with three adult-use marijuana retailers. The selected entities and their proposed locations are: Union Leaf, 71 Union Square; New England Select Harvest (NESH), 378-380 Highland Avenue; and East Coast Remedies (ECR) 76-82 Central Street.

Union Leaf is both a Somerville-resident-owned and an immigrant-owned business whose owner, Laxmi Pradhan, has past experience operating businesses in highly regulated industries. The Union Leaf proposal includes redeveloping the 71 Union Square site to include a three-story building for its retail operations, a community space, and offices for its new business. New England Select Harvest (NESH) is majority owned by Robert Gregory, who is a Somerville resident and the owner of Redbones. Minority-owned East Coast Remedies (ECR) is majority owned by Gladys Vega of Chelsea, who is currently the Executive Director of the Chelsea Collaborative. She has dedicated her life’s work to combating socioeconomic challengers in her community and has overcome the impacts that marijuana prohibition has had on her family.

The three entities were selected after a robust review process by the Acting Mayor’s Marijuana Advisory Committee (MAC). As part of the MAC’s first round of applications, they reviewed 14 applications for marijuana retailers in various neighborhoods throughout the City. Of those 14, the MAC interviewed 7 of the applicants that best met review criteria to learn more about their proposals. MAC review criteria included the following: ensuring that proposed locations were compatible with their respective neighborhoods, that the physical space allowed for safe storage and flow of customers, and that operations included a focus on community involvement and education. In keeping with the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission’s Economic Empowerment Program, it was also a strong priority for the MAC to consider the extent to which the person(s) running the entity has/have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and to prioritize entities where the majority of ownership is made up of individuals of Black, African American, Hispanic, or Latino descent. Preference was also given to entities where the majority of the ownership was by individuals who are Somerville residents.

This is the first local entitlement among many that is required for establishing an adult-use marijuana retailer in Somerville. The next step is for the entities to seek a license from the Somerville Licensing Commission and a Special Permit from either the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) or the Planning Board (PB) (depending on their underlying zoning district). After receiving all local approvals each entity will need to receive license from the Commonwealth’s Cannabis Control Commission (CCC). Public input will be accepted during the Licensing Commission, ZBA and PB processes. Agendas for these Boards will be posted as they become available on the City website at www.somervillema.gov/MeetingDocuments. For more information about each proposal, visit www.somervillema.gov/departments/programs/adult-use-marijuana.

Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures, in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings, should contact Nency Salamoun, at 617-625-6600 x2323 or [email protected]