Legal Greens, a limited liability company established by Vanessa Jean-Baptiste, just got a provisional license to open a retail adult use marijuana store at 73 Pleasant St. in Brockton.
BROCKTON – The Cannabis Control Commission voted on Thursday morning to give the green light to a retail adult-use marijuana store in Brockton, approving a provisional license for a company started by a 29-year-old Haitian woman from Brockton.
Legal Greens, established by Vanessa Jean-Baptiste, is now moving forward with plans to open a retail marijuana store at 73 Pleasant St., where there's currently a laundromat and a barber shop, after obtaining a provisional license from the Cannabis Control Commission. That makes Jean-Baptiste one of less than 20 economic empower applicants that have received a provisional license so far. In total, the Cannabis Control Commission has received 29 completed applications from economic empowerment candidates thus far.
"I'm very excited," said Jean-Baptiste, a lifelong Brocktonian and a graduate of Bridgewater State University. "Now we're pushing forward."
This comes as another company, called Oasis, is poised to become the first pot shop to open in Boston and to become the first with economic empowerment status to open in Massachusetts, after announcing that it would open its doors for business on Monday. The economic empowerment program is a provision of the state's marijuana law aimed at helping racial minorities and others from communities that have been disproportionately affected by the criminalization of pot in the past.
"We want to pave the way for other minorities to do this," said Jean-Baptiste, reached on Thursday afternoon.
The economic empowerment status allowed Jean-Baptiste to get an expedited review of her application that she submitted in October to the Cannabis Control Commission after getting a host community agreement during the summer from former Brockton mayor, now-Councilor-at-large Moises Rodrigues. It was a quick vote by the Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday morning in Worcester, after the agency's staff recommended the approval of Legal Greens' provisional license.
"Mayor Rodrigues helped us out a lot," said Jean-Baptiste, who was unable to get a host community agreement before that under the administration of Carpenter. "If it wasn't for Moises Rodrigues, we'd never have gotten to where we are at today."
Jean-Baptiste said she hopes to be able to open the store by fall of this year. The Brockton businesswoman said she is using an initial $250,000 in financing provided to her through a social equity program awarded to her last year by Theory Wellness, a marijuana company that has a dispensaries and retail marijuana locations in Bridgewater, Great Barrington and Chicoppee. Jean-Baptiste said her company now needs to raise an additional $600,000 for construction.
Jean-Baptiste said she became interested in pursuing a marijuana license from the state because it's an exciting new industry, and the Brockton woman said she's a fan of the green, leafy substance. Plus, it will help the city of Brockton, she said, providing 3 percent in sales as a local tax and another 5 percent on top of that as a host community agreement fee.
"It's a new industry," Jean-Baptiste said. "Why not be part of something that could be a revolutionary change? I'm a cannabis enthusiast. I love cannabis. Why not do something I love that will help my community as well? ... It's going to help the city budget, with schools, police, roads, lights – all that good stuff."
Jean-Baptiste said her Legal Greens store would be a secure facility and a good neighbor, strictly enforcing the law against customers under the age of 21.
"We'll be connected into Brockton police and state police," she said. "As far as security and safety, it's going to be very top-notch. It's going to have to be. We're going to clean up the area as well."
Legal Greens is also pursuing another provisional license for a retail location on Dudley Street in Roxbury. With their provisional license for the Brockton location, Jean-Baptiste said Legal Green has proven its a viable legal marijuana company. But Jean-Baptiste and her business partner, Legal Greens Chief Operating Officer Mark Bouquet, said they need Boston City Councilor Frank Baker to sign off on their proposal for the Roxbury retail store.
"It's just been roadblocks," Bouquet said. "I'd like for him to do the right thing."
Jean-Baptiste and Bouquet thanked everyone who helped them along the way.
"If they are reading this article, they know who they are," she said. "We thank you for all your help throughout the process. We appreciate it."