Plans for a Quincy Market pot shop are on hold following cease-and-desist letter

There are some "issues" to resolve.

BOSTON, MA - 6/25/2020: An empty Quincy Market in Boston during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic (David L Ryan/Globe Staff ) SECTION:  BUSINESS TOPIC:
An empty Quincy Market in Boston this past June during the COVID-19 pandemic. –David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe

Boston city officials had planned to hold a virtual community meeting this Thursday on a proposed recreational marijuana dispensary in historic Quincy Market.

However, any such plans have been paused.

The meeting was abruptly canceled last week by Boston’s Office of Neighborhood Services after Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation, the New York company that manages the city-owned marketplace, said they planned to send a cease-and-desist letter to the proposed pot shop, Redemption Cannabis, over their proposed use of the space.

City officials say Redemption can move forward in the public input process, once certain unspecific “issues are resolved.”

While the concept of a pot shop at the 200-year-old landmark and tourist destination is likely to attract some opposition, the reason for the letter isn’t exactly clear.

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Representatives for Ashkenazy and Faneuil Hall Marketplace did not respond to requests for comment. City officials also declined to answer specific questions.

However, a source familiar with the plans told Boston.com that the reason for the cease-and-desist letter was because the property managers prefer a different marijuana shop proposal at a separate location in Quincy Market. The city of Boston has a “buffer zone” rule that generally prohibits marijuana businesses from being within a half mile of one another.

According to The Boston Globe, Redemption’s founder Geoffrey Reilinger seems to be under the impression that his fledgling proposal has already met its end.

“Despite being a local guy who grew up here, Boston just does not seem to want to give me a license,” Reilinger, the son of Boston’s former longtime school committee chair, told the Globe. “I honestly don’t know what happened.”

(Reilinger has also been involved in a fraught, long-running effort to open a medical marijuana dispensary on Newbury Street.)

Redemption was proposed to be located on the second floor of the property’s North Market building, above the Lucy’s League boutique store, as the Globe first reported on Aug. 29. At the time, roughly a quarter of all the shops and restaurants in Faneuil Hall Marketplace had yet to reopen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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City officials say Redemption had filed their online application and was in discussions with the ONS to hold its community meeting once both site control was confirmed, and the group had filed plans with the Inspectional Services Department for the underlying zoning — until the cease-and-desist letter stopped them in their tracks. The dispensary would also have to clear a number of other hurdles at the city and state level before receiving approval to open.

If Redemption — or any other proposed Quincy Market pot shop — does ultimately move forward in the process, they would join a host of other cannabis companies that have reached agreements with city officials to open in Boston.

So far, just two of the more than 70 retail dispensaries approved to open in Massachusetts are located in Boston city limits — one in Dorchester and one in East Boston.

City officials have reached an agreement with one other downtown recreational marijuana dispensary, Ascend Mass, which is planned near the TD Garden. The dispensary has received a provisional license from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission but is still awaiting final approval.

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