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Launching Lowkey Dispensary

When we open the doors to Lowkey Dispensary in Dorchester’s Codman Square neighborhood this fall, it will be a monumental moment—not just for us, but for the city of Boston itself.

A Boston Black-Owned Dispensary

Just how important is the opening of a Black-owned dispensary in the city of Boston? The answer is very. The opening of Lowkey and other Black-owned dispensaries bring inclusivity to an industry that is overwhelmingly white and unrepresentative of users. While marijuana use between Black and white Americans is nearly identical, ownership of cannabis businesses is not. A 2017 survey from Marijuana Business Daily found that 81% of cannabis business owners and founders were white, while just 4.3% were Black.

It’s not just ownership in the cannabis industry where minorities have been left behind, nearly 75% of the Massachusetts marijuana workforce is white, while Black and Latino people make up less than 12%. All this adds up to the opening of Lowkey being a big deal—it’s overcoming the odds, increasing minority representation in the cannabis industry, and bringing a Black-owned business to a neighborhood where more than 40% of the residents are Black. It’s also adding jobs—the cannabis industry is creating jobs at a faster rate than any other American industry.

Minorities and Marijuana

Boston has taken steps to create more diversity in the cannabis industry, most notably through their “economic empowerment” application process, which gives priority review to qualifying applicants, such as minorities and veterans, but has seen moderate success. It was reported that just 27 of the 122 applicants initially given “economic empowerment priority” in 2018 applied for licenses, and only eight received them.

The exclusion of Blacks and other minorities from the cannabis industry is particularly notable, due to the effects marijuana policing has had on the communities over the years. Despite similar rates of marijuana use between Black and white populations, Black people are almost four times more likely to get arrested for marijuana possession. The results of this disproportionate policing have been significant and, in many cases, have life-altering consequences—affecting everything from the ability to receive public benefits like health care and housing to limiting employment opportunities.

LowKey Community, Location, and Hours

Lowkey hopes to initially employ about 30 workers—we plan on holding job fairs in and around Dorchester in advance of our opening and have a career page on our website for interested applicants. We’re not just looking to staff our dispensary, though—we’re also looking to hire and educate employees from in and around the neighborhood and provide them with the tools to have long-lasting careers in the cannabis industry, a market that’s forecasted to be valued at $84 billion by 2028.

We’re currently in the process of “leveling up” an old restaurant at 571B Washington Street, next to the Citizens Bank in Codman Square. Designed with a modern, lively look—but a low-key vibe—Lowkey dispensary will have 1,700 square feet of retail space and will stimulate economic development in the community.

The dispensary is conveniently located near the Shawmut MBTA station and is adjacent to a municipal lot with about 40 spaces available to Lowkey visitors. We’re also planning on installing a bike rack for those who prefer pedal-powered travel. Initially, Lowkey will be open seven days a week from 10 am to 9 pm, but we’ll adjust to accommodate shopping patterns as we start getting people in the door.

About Us

Lowkey Dispensary’s goal is to provide a superior experience by delivering everything from top-notch products to exceptional service while helping level up our community by creating opportunities for residents and building something that feels like their own. If you’re interested in learning more about Lowkey, sign up for our newsletter for the latest news, updates, and promotions.

Lowkey is just one of many projects our CEO, Jeff Similien, has founded to empower economic growth in Black communities. In 2020, Jeff founded the Co-Pad, Mattapan’s first community-minded co-working space. In addition to providing office space, the Co-Pad frequently hosts events like the Kings Amongst Kings Meet-Up, a monthly series of meet-ups for men of color.

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