“Many in the community would like the opportunity to participate.”
It was a good November for the team at Rooted in Roxbury, a “community-conscious business” building an adult-use dispensary in Nubian Square. With a preliminary license granted by the Boston Cannabis Board, the group racks up several superlatives including becoming the first awardee to be 100% owned and financed by Boston residents of color. From their announcement:
The Board Chair and Commissioners applauded the company’s application and expressed excitement for its vision to contribute to a larger commercial ecosystem that advances Nubian Square. The Rooted in Roxbury investment model provides communities of color access to the emerging cannabis industry through shares that cost as little as $1,200. To date, the company has secured 43 investors at an average investment of $16,500. Investors are 100% people of color, 51% female, and 100% Boston residents.
“As we had conversations with members of our community, we found that people feel this industry will only benefit the few, and that many in the community would like the opportunity to participate. We believe the people of Boston should be the ones to invest, own and operate cannabis businesses in Boston,” Rooted in Roxbury Chief Operating Officer Brian Keith said. “Let’s be honest: when billion dollar opportunities come around, people of color are not included until there is a quota to fill. We are doing it from the ground floor.”
We checked out the proposal submitted by Rooted, which plans to “operate a 2,500-square-foot adult use cannabis retailer at 2177 Washington Street.” “Its ownership team, Brian and Joanne Keith and Solmon and Rokeya Chowdhury brings over 20 years of combined experience as small business owners and 30 combined years as community advocates.” Some other notes that stood out:
Rooted will set profits aside for a Community Benefits Fund with a “board of community members” determining where funds are directed.
They’re considering a coupon program, potentially called “Nubian Bucks,” to help drive foot traffic to Nubian Square businesses.
A 5% location profit share will be set aside for employees.
Rooted hopes to sponsor college tours for local students and trips for seniors.
Moving forward, the company will “pursue the completion of a Host Community Agreement and a zoning variance through the Zoning Board of Appeals before moving onto the Cannabis Control Commission’s process for state licensure.”