By Suzanne Crow and Jane Avery
BU News Service
Charlestown community members voiced their support and concerns Thursday about a proposed boutique-style cannabis dispensary in their neighborhood.
During a virtual meeting, Jack Kelly, owner of R2 Resilient Remedies — the company seeking approval to open a dispensary on Cambridge Street — said he is“100% the right person” to do so in Charlestown.
“I’m an advocate for everyone in Charlestown,” Kelly said.
Kelly, alongside his team members, presented their business plan and then responded to questions and thoughts from supporters and opponents. Quinlan Locke, the Charlestown liaison for the city of Boston, moderated the meeting and several times had to ask attendees to be respectful while speaking.
Kelly lives in Charlestown and said he plans on hiring people from the Charlestown community. Sean Boyle, a resident of that community, said he appreciated seeing someone who grew up in the area start his own business.
“I don’t really see this as a negative thing,” he said. “I hope the city of Boston gives him the opportunity to start his own business.”
Christopher Worsham, a physician and father who lives in Charlestown, said he does not support any cannabis shops in the area.
“How many marijuana outlets do we really need in this area?” Worsham asked. “The answer is that we need zero, and that should be enough.”
Daniel Linskey, former Boston Police Department chief, said he was initially opposed to cannabis legalization. But after experiencing “the devastation” of cancer treatment for someone close to him, he changed his position on the issue and now works on Kelly’s team.
“We want to make sure we are not impacting Charlestown in a negative way,” Linskey said.
Elaine Donovan said she knows Kelly through the Charlestown community.
“He’s got a loyalty to this community like no one else that I know,” she said. “If it’s going to happen, it should happen with Jackie Kelly.”
Emilee Regan, who works with Joyce Strategies — a local consultancy that has been assisting cannabis entrepreneurs establish themselves in the industry — said R2 Resilient Remedies anticipates their clients will mostly be professionals and middle-aged adults. She said they expect most customers will spend an average of about $106 per visit and have “disposable income.” The earliest the dispensary will open is spring 2021, she said.
Laura Caltenco, a resident of Charlestown, said she was concerned that R2 Resilient Remedies plans to target people with disposable incomes because many people in the community are middle-class.
“I do not support this business at all,” she said during the meeting.
Linskey, who will be in charge of what he described as “state-of-the-art” security, said if R2 Resilient Remedies’ products end up with someone underaged or are being misused, they will try to use their security system to identify the customer. The store will also include two alarm systems in case one fails, he said, as well as pre-entry security and enforcement of the 21-and-up age restriction.
Kelly said he will meet with anyone to talk about concerns.
“For everyone that lives in that area, I’m your ally,” Kelly said. “Whether you like me or not.”