“It’s exactly what pot advocates knew would happen, and what every would-be pot shop operator told the aldermen and city councilors across the state—namely, that these operations are outstanding boosters for neighboring business, especially ones that serve food and booze.”
On the sidewalk just outside of Berkshire Roots in East Boston last weekend, I watched a seemingly well-off couple from outside of the neighborhood mull over their next move after buying some edibles and flower. They approached Lijuan Toma, the dispensary’s outreach manager who was in front welcoming customers, for lunch recommendations, and were quickly given three options within two blocks, two of which have outdoor dining. Toma didn’t simply shout the information and shoo them off; instead, she got them as excited about the South American fare they were about to consume as they already were about the legal crops they just copped.
For a longtime cannabis consumer and close industry observer like me who has been to dozens of dispensaries across the state and sat through hours of municipal meetings where new pot shops were on the agenda, the scene outside of Berkshire Roots is an exchange worth noting. It’s exactly what pot advocates (and anybody who bothered to acknowledge states that had legal markets before us) knew would happen, and what every would-be pot shop operator told the aldermen and city councilors across the state—namely, that these operations are outstanding boosters for neighboring business, especially ones that serve food and booze.
That goes triply if they run smoothly, which was my experience at Berkshire Roots last Saturday afternoon. I placed an order on my smartphone at 12:30pm, selected a pick-up window between 1:30 and 2:30pm, parked in one of several free two-hour spots less than a block away at 1:25pm, hopped in line outside of the dispensary, and was served and on my way by 1:40pm with the goods. I’ve shopped for weed from San Francisco to the streets of every city on the East Coast, and it doesn’t get much easier than that. It can be easy to forget about legal dispensaries in a city where rec ops are still hard to come by and the underground economy is still thriving as a result, but with cozy storefronts like this Boston outpost of Berkshire Roots finally in business, there’s some hope on the horizon in that regard.
Since I will likely be back soon and on numerous subsequent occasions, I kept this trip to a single purchase, one gram of their house brand Sacari sugar wax. The $49.95 price point lured me in, but the specs (70.4% THC) closed the deal. Upon inspection back home, the sativa complemented dinner like some vintage grapes; the concentrate may resemble a bloody booger masquerading as a raisin, but it’s easy to dab and challenged my senses with a unique cherry trail to savor.
Between the product, customer service, and proximity to Colombian cuisine, this could turn into a routine.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.