By Miranda Suarez
BU News Service

BOSTON – Residents criticized downtown medical marijuana dispensary Patriot Care at a public hearing last night for breaking its agreement with the city never to sell recreational marijuana at that location.

About 30 people attended the community outreach hearing on Federal St. hosted by Patriot Care CEO, Bob Mayerson. Holding a public outreach hearing is the first step in applying for a recreational marijuana license, according to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.

The dispensary at 21 Milk St., five minutes away from the meeting, was the city’s first registered medical marijuana dispensary when it opened in 2016.

The agreement has changed because it was made over a year before voters approved Question 4, the ballot initiative that legalized recreational marijuana, Mayerson said at the hearing.

“Based on the facts on the ground at that time, it was made with the sincere intent to deliver,” he said.

Mayerson predicted the opening of dozens more dispensaries in Boston will spread out demand.

“It won’t all fall disproportionately on one location,” he said.

Patriot Care opposed Question 4, said Dennis Kunian, a spokesperson for the company, but then Question 4 won in Boston with 62 percent of the vote.

“The city and state put us in the position where we had to do this,” Kunian said.

Patriot Care would not have made the promise if they did not see legalization as a possibility, said Rishi R. Shukla, a member of the Downton Boston Residents’ Association who attended the hearing.

“What you’re asking for is a complete 180,” Shukla said, “and, in my opinion, it’s not because there’s new information on the table.”

Kunian stressed the company’s focus is still medical. Patriot Care plans to offer recreational marijuana as a cheaper alternative for medical marijuana patients.

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