Cookies — a California-based, minority-operated marijuana dispensary chain – is set to open its doors in Cambridge and occupy the former Staples Inc. space within the Crimson Galleria.
Cookies’s opening comes after the owner of the Crimson Galeria, Raj K. Dhanda, sued Healthy Pharms Inc., a Massachusetts based, non-profit marijuana distributor, in 2017 for attempting to open a medical marijuana dispensary on Winthrop Street. In his 2017 complaint, Dhanda said his businesses had been “substantially injured by a conspiracy to sell marijuana.”
Dhanda has since accepted a settlement to the lawsuit, and this week, he commented on his plans to host the Cookies cannabis dispensary in his Harvard Square property in an open letter to the public.
In the letter, Dhanda wrote that his opinion on the cannabis industry has “evolved” and “prior views [he] had on many aspects of the industry were misinformed.”
Dhanda wrote that Cookies in Harvard Square will be a “great community partner” which is “extremely committed to providing community benefits.” He also wrote that his plans were influenced by the lack of minority-owned cannabis businesses in the city.
“I learned that so few licenses across the entire Commonwealth had been awarded to economic empowerment applicants,” the letter reads. “I knew there was an opportunity to give back to the community, to promote minority entrepreneurship, and to do something bigger than just filling another space.”
“Economic empowerment applicants” are businesses that receive marijuana licenses from the state through a program that intends to help groups disproportionately impacted by past drug policies.
Dhanda said he is enthusiastic about the opportunity to provide space for Cookies in Cambridge.
“Knowing that the new dispensary at the Crimson Galeria will be a minority owned and operated establishment is something we can all take pride in,” he wrote in the letter.