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Malden smoke shop investigated for ‘gifting’ marijuana

Evicdence seized from a smoke shop in Maplewood Square
Evicdence seized from a smoke shop in Maplewood Square(Malden Police Department)

Boston Smoke Shop in Malden has been temporarily shut down after a police investigation determined the store was allegedly “gifting” marijuana with purchases, officials said.

An undercover police officer “conducted an investigation in relation to allegations of distribution,” taking place at the shop, the department said in a statement Thursday night.

In a statement to the Globe, Boston Smoke Shop said their license to operate the store in Maplewood Square has been revoked, pending a review by the city’s Board of Health on April 2.

The business last year “raised concerns with a local public health official about the widespread practice of gifting marijuana and THC products,” at smoke and vape shops in Greater Boston, the statement said.

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Boston Smoke Shop, which operates 21 stores in Greater Boston, did not identify the local official or the community involved.

“We were told the issue would be raised with appropriate authorities, and that we would receive advice on how to proceed. That clarification never came and the practice only grew more prevalent: not only in adults-only stores like ours, but convenience stores and other retail operations,” the statement said.

The sale of recreational marijuana became legal in Massachusetts last November. People age 21 and over may exchange of up to 1 ounce of marijuana, but it may not be advertised, promoted or done “without remuneration,” according to the law.

Boston Smoke Shop said it is waiting for regulators and government officials to “ . . . to clarify whether the state’s gifting provision applies to retail stores. Boston Smoke Shop welcomes the opportunity, as we did one year ago, to help provide that clarity for the hundreds of affected businesses across the state,” the statement said.

Malden police said a search warrant was executed at the store and police seized several items. The item were not identified, but a photo released by the department shows cartridges and a large sum of cash.

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Two employees of the shop are being investigated and “criminal charges may be pending,” police said.

The department is warning other businesses that if they “want to distribute marijuana and/or marijuana products, make sure you’re licensed to do so,” police said.


Andrew Stanton can be reached at andrew.stanton@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @_andrewstanton.