Two equity applicants clash in Allston; lawsuit filed
MassGreenwoods LLC recently filed a lawsuit against the City of Boston Board of Appeals for granting a variance to a competitor to locate a dispensary approximately 250 feet away. CEO of MassGreenwoods Eric Lawrence is a certified economic empowerment applicant with approvals to open a dispensary at 116 Harvard Ave in Allston. MassGreenwoods and abutters filed a complaint in Suffolk Superior Court claims that the Board of Appeals improperly granted a variance to OPCO Allston, LLC without ensuring that the standards and requirements for a variance were met. The plaintiffs point to the Boston Zoning Code that does not allow a cannabis establishments to locate within one half mile or 2,640 feet from another existing cannabis establishment. They believe that two dispensaries on one block will increase vehicle traffic and congestion, put greater demand on the short supply of street parking, and lead to more hazards for pedestrians.
OPCO is 51% owned by Leah Samura, a lifelong Mattapan resident, and certified economic empowerment applicant. OPCO plans to do business as a Dr. Greenthumb dispensary at 144 Harvard Ave. Established rapper B-Real owns 32% of the company along with some of the founders of Cookies retail who hold 9%. The Cookies and Dr. Greenthumb brands are very popular and have a very loyal following according to the lawsuit. In presentation materials OPCO pointed to the densely populated neighborhood as to support competition among cannabis businesses. The Boston Cannabis Board approved the variance by a vote of six in favor, one opposed on July 7th. MassGreenwoods and the other plaintiffs are asking the court to rescind the variance granted by the Board of Appeal.