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Boston pot shop receives final license; opening could be just weeks away

Entrepreneur Kobie Evans, of Boston (center right), listened as the Cannabis Control Commission voted Thursday in Worcester in favor of final approval for licenses for a number of cannabis shops, including his company, Pure Oasis.
Entrepreneur Kobie Evans, of Boston (center right), listened as the Cannabis Control Commission voted Thursday in Worcester in favor of final approval for licenses for a number of cannabis shops, including his company, Pure Oasis.Steven Senne/Associated Press

Cannabis regulators awarded a final license Thursday to a Grove Hall dispensary that could become Boston’s first recreational marijuana store.

The Cannabis Control Commission unanimously approved the final license for the marijuana company Pure Oasis at its meeting in Worcester, putting the company on track to finish up its last inspections and preparations to get ready for its opening day.

Before Pure Oasis can open its doors, the company will still need to receive a “commence operations” notice from the commission, which allows it to open after three calendar days. On average — among the 36 recreational marijuana stores that have been approved to open in Massachusetts — companies have spent about six weeks with their final license before receiving a “commence operations” notice.

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“It’s definitely been a tough road at times, but I think overall, I’m just happy that we’re at this point and excited at the new opportunities that are ahead of us,” said co-owner Kobie Evans after the vote Thursday.

Evans said he and his team are looking to create a company that is “viable and sustainable and gives back to the community and embodies all the ideas of everyone who helped write the [marijuana legalization] ballot measure, and the idea that it was time that Boston needed to address some of the economic inequalities.”

Two companies have provisional licenses for adult-use stores in Boston, and five others have applied to open stores in the city, according to the latest commission data, from mid-January.

Pure Oasis is at 430 Blue Hill Ave. in the Grove Hall neighborhood. Evans knows the opening is likely to be hectic, but said his company has taken proactive measures to try to mitigate neighbors’ concerns.

The company built extra space inside its building to keep the line inside, rather than outside on the sidewalk, Evans said, and he’s encouraging customers to utilize local municipal parking lots so the streets directly in front of the store don’t get clogged with traffic.

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“Ultimately, our goal is to be a great neighbor and a great partner so that we’re working collaboratively with the neighborhood groups so that there are no issues,” he said.

Aside from making history in Boston, Pure Oasis is also the first applicant to receive a final license from the economic empowerment program, which gives priority review to candidates who were harmed by the prohibition of marijuana or to companies that pledge to help those communities. Seven economic empowerment applicants have provisional licenses.

The commission acknowledged those accomplishments Thursday.

“This is an important milestone,” chairman Steven Hoffman said immediately following the vote. “I just want to take a second to pause.”

The audience broke into applause.

Commissioner Shaleen Title thanked Boston leaders for their commitment to equality in the marijuana industry.

“The commission has to prioritize economic empowerment applicants, but cities and towns do not, so I want to acknowledge the City of Boston for voluntarily having a long-term vision and implementing it and taking this step toward equity and fairness," she said.

Hoffman told reporters after the meeting that, to him, the big milestone is seeing an economic empowerment applicant move forward and get closer to opening a store.

“A very important part of our mandate is to help people from disproportionately impacted communities,” he said. “They got priority in the original licensing process, and this is the first that’s made it all the way through."

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Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans. Dan Adams can be reached at daniel.adams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dan_Adams86.