Webster Avenue Pot Shop Gets Planning Board Okay

A retail marijuana shop on Webster Avenue near the Home Depot is one step closer to opening in Chelsea.

Tuesday night, the Planning Board approved a site plan for a 10,000 square foot retail marijuana facility at 121 Webster Ave. by The Western Front, LLC.

The pot shop still needs additional approvals from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission as well as the local Zoning and Licensing Boards before it can officially open its doors. But local officials have praised the plans for the facility, which is filing for a license to operate under a state economic empowerment provision.

The economic empowerment provision helps provide for minority populations that have faced the brunt of marijuana prohibition punishments achieve social and economic justice, according to Timothy Flaherty, the attorney representing the Western Front team.

The Western Front’s board includes a number of Massachusetts business and community leaders who have addressed social justice issues in the past, including board chair Marvin Gilmore.

Gilmore has a long and storied history in the Boston area and beyond. He co-founded Unity Bank and Trust, was a major real estate developer in the Southwest Corridor of Boston, owned the storied Western Front nightclub in Cambridge, and was awarded the Legion of Honor, among other awards, for helping storm the beaches of Normandy in World War II.

Economic empowerment applications get priority for consideration at the Cannabis Control Commission, Flaherty said.

As for the proposed site at 121 Webster Ave., Flaherty said as a stand-alone building in an area with adequate parking, is an optimal site for a retail marijuana facility.

All marijuana products will be shipped in pre-packaged from a wholesaler, and the facility will feature a host of security measures, from cameras the Chelsea Police can immediately access to a what Flaherty called a mind-boggling number of alarms.

Chelsea police officials were satisfied with the security measures for the building, according to John DePriest, the City’s planning director.

Inside the shop, plans also call for a future workforce development area and a work bar where consumers can gather before entering the retail sales floor.

The sales area will be like “a cross between a jewelry store and a spa,” said Flaherty.

The facility will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days per week. There will be a total of about 25 employees, with eight to 10 working at any given time.

“The goal is to hire 100 percent Chelsea residents,” said Flaherty.

All those employees will be trained and certified by the Cannabis Control Commission.

“I’m impressed by the group before us and their commitment to social justice,” said Council President Damali Vidot.

District 3 City Councillor Joe Perlatonda also said he was very impressed with the organization and happy that they are committed to hiring Chelsea residents.

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