A New York-based medical marijuana chain is one step closer to opening a pot dispensary in Boston’s Financial District — and just blocks from Millennium Tower, the new $680 million luxury skyscraper going up in Downtown Crossing — after regulators yesterday gave it the green light to move to the final stage of the state’s approval process.
Patriot Care Corp. plans to rent a five-story, former Liberty Bank and Trust branch building at 21 Milk St. where it will sell medicinal cannabis seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to company spokesman Dennis Kunian, who added the pot shop could be open by the spring.
“We are in the heart of the city because of the fact that there are 12 subway lines that go directly into Downtown Crossing, which is only two blocks from us,” Kunian said. “We are in the business of helping people with debilitating conditions. … When we open, you will not see lines around the corner. This is not recreational. This is not Colorado.”
The proposed pot store did not sit well with Rosemarie Sansone, president of the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District.
“While there has not been any community process for Patriot Care to date in Boston, this will be a very challenging location for them to pursue,” she said. “Before today’s announcement I had spoken to many property and business owners as well as a growing number of residents who are extremely concerned and will want their voices heard on this subject.”
The state Department of Public Health yesterday approved Patriot Care to advance to the “Inspection Phase” — the final stage before a certificate of registration is granted — for its only Suffolk County dispensary. The nonprofit also got the go-ahead for a dispensary slated to go in a former American Legion hall in Greenfield. The company plans to grow its weed at an indoor facility in South Hadley.
The state yesterday also advanced two other planned dispensaries, Coastal Compassion Inc. in Fairhaven and Mass Medicum Corp. in Taunton. They join 11 other proposed dispensaries already in the final review stage.
Patriot Care is the only marijuana company in the state with three proposed sites. After its Lowell location got cleared for inspection, the DPH invited it to submit additional applications for counties with unfilled slots.
The company came under increased scrutiny in September after published reports that it claimed on its Massachusetts application it was treating HIV patients at its Washington facility when the program was not yet up and running.
The company will need city permits, including approval of its security plan. It will also need a zoning variance, said Nick Martin of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, noting they are banned in residential neighborhoods.
“It will be interesting,” Martin added, because Downtown Crossing “is becoming a more residential area.”
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