Cannabis is now legal in Massachusetts, and people are trying to take advantage of the growing industry and economic opportunities. However, one unforeseen circumstance of the new marijuana industry is the effect big businesses and lobbyists have on controlling the market.
“It really became painfully obvious,” co-owner of small, local cannabis company, Pure Oasis, Kodie Evans said. “Based on their size and ability to spend money, they have hired lobbyists who have been able to influence the political process.”
Evans and his business partner, Kevin Hart, are attempting to bring Pure Oasis to Medford and obtain a host agreement at 479 Broadway. Evans said they are one of only two applications in the state who already have a host agreement with another city or town, and they are hoping to beat the odds of competing with the big businesses to come to Medford.
“The only people who can get those meetings and get the subsequent host meetings are those big business that have politically correct connections and hire lobbying consultants who can make a phone call and set up a meeting in a week,” Evans said. “Unfortunately for us who A) are a small business, and B) have economic empowerment designation, it almost makes it impossible.”
Evans explained that 350 to 400 host agreements have been issued in Massachusetts and only two of those hundreds have gone to a small business or those with an “Economic Empowerment application,” which is supposed to help people from marginalized communities, like Pure Oasis.
“It’s important to respect the will of the voter who may have not voted because they use cannabis but they voted because of the social justice component and the opportunity to create equity in the State,” he said. “I think that’s a big deal. I don’t want people who voted