The Boston Cannabis Board this week reversed its earlier denial of plans by an out-of-state chain to turn a former pasta factory on Hyde Park Avenue into a marijuana shop just a block up the street from another shop that would be run by three local entrepreneurs.
However, the board made its approval conditional on the Zoning Board of Appeal deciding the city's supposed restriction on marijuana stores within a half mile of each other is worth overriding to let Suns Mass Inc. of Tempe, AZ, turn the former Serino's building, across from the America's Food Basket strip mall, into both a recreational and medicinal shop as well as a facility for churning out marijuana products.
In September, the cannabis board approved plans by Sean Berte and Jullian Domenici of Roslindale and Armani White of Roxbury to open their proposed Evergreen Farms a block away at 883 Hyde Park Ave., should they be able to win approval from state regulators and the Zoning Board of Appeal - and rejected the Suns Mass proposal.
Unlike Suns Mass., Evergreen is supposed to get priority for a license because two of its three principals are members of groups the state has identified as being historically hit harder by past marijuana laws: Berte and White both have marijuana convictions while White is black.
The zoning board voted Tuesday to approve Evergreen Farms.
At a hearing the next day, the cannabis board voted unanimously to support Suns Mass, because board members said, the company came back with a strong request for reconsideration in which it guaranteed it would be a minimum wage of $18.50 an hour and would hire a minority contractor to refit the the building for its new use.
Board Chairwoman Kathleen Joyce said she was impressed by the community room the company says it would include in the building, that the Suns Mass proposal is "very different" from the Evergreen Farms one and that she does not think the Suns Mass proposal would harm the neighborthood.
Board member Alejandra St. Guillen said the new Suns Mass proposal really highlights what a "very well financed and experienced" company can offer the city.
Cannabis Board hearing on Suns Mass: