City Signs Host Agreement With Proposed West End Marijuana Shop

An adult-use marijuana facility proposed for Friend Street in Boston’s West End signed a host agreements with the City of Boston.

Ascend Mass Inc., which is proposing a retail marijuana shop at 272 Friend St., has held several community meetings with West End residents. Over the past few months Ascend’s Friend Street proposal has gained community and political support due to its location away from main thoroughfares like Causeway Street,

Headed by former Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral, Ascend has purchased the Friend Street building, and will transform the aging vacant structure into the retail marijuana shop, as well as Ascend’s corporate headquarters.

Ascend agreed to make quarterly payments equal to three percent of gross sales revenue to the city within thirty days after the end of the quarter.

Aside from paying the city 3 percent of its sales per quarter Berkshire Roots also agreed to install security cameras in and around the business and to participate in public safety and beautification initiatives in and around the business.

According to the agreement with the city there will be no benches or social gathering areas in or around the business and agrees to prohibit smoking, vaping or any other form of consumption of marijuana onsite. The company also agrees to share data and reports to the Boston Public Health Commission, as well as assist in the dissemination of materials related to public health, public safety and prevention efforts.

Friend Street has seen its fair share of blight with vacant buildings and homelessness. West End residents have commented that adding a  multi-million investment at 272 Friend St. may begin to turn the street around.

Ascend owns the building and are committed to making sure it is safe and secure.

Ascend’s proposal includes taking the 15,000 sq. ft. building and transforming it into multiple floors for its retail marijuana operation. This, the group explained in its power point presentation, would give customers ample space and reduce the number of people that would have to wait outside. They also plan to renovate the facade of the building, limit the marijuana shop signage and install opaque windows to shield interior activity from neighbors and pedestrians walking by.

Ascend planned hours of operation will be from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Elected officials like City Councilors Josh Zakim and Ed Flynn, Rep. Aaron Michlewitz and Sen. Joseph Boncore have all lined up to support Ascend’s proposal over the Causeway Street proposal.

“They (Ascend) have put together a thoughtful, comprehensive and community-focused plan,” said Zakim. “Each decision, from the location on a quiet side street to on-site corporate offices, demonstrates their commitment to and consideration for their West End neighbors.”

Michlewitz added that Ascend had, “Chosen its location on Friend Street carefully so that it sits on a less traveled side street, which is highly preferable to one of the area’s well traveled thoroughfares.”

Michlewitz said the fact that Ascend has purchased the building makes for a substantial investment in the neighborhood and the beginning of an overall Friend Street revitalization.

Ascend, said Michlewitz, will also send three percent of its sales back to the City of Boston as part of a Host Community Agreement and pledged to support local charitable and community building initiatives.

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