For drug-burdened neighborhoods, pot shops aren’t a blessing

I am all for equity in the marijuana business and opportunities for communities of color. I congratulate new pot shop owners Kobie Evans of Dorchester and his business partner Kevin Hart on getting their license to open Boston’s first recreational marijuana shop, Pure Oasis, in the Grove Hall neighborhood.

I welcome business opportunities for folks of color because I know they don’t come easy. And these legal cannabis retail opportunities are a kind of compensation for the fact that minorities received particularly harsh sentencing for marijuana-related crimes before it was legal here. But like many of my neighbors, I am concerned about how a legal drug business opportunity  and a community hard hit by illegal drugs can co-exist.

Like many of my neighbors, I am concerned about the proliferation of pot shops here. At one time every open storefront from Roxbury to Mattapan was in consideration. Forget about how close they were to schools, or that many were not true minority-owned ventures. What we have here is a gold rush.

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