After a long wait, former councilman Tito Jackson’s cannabis business opens in Boston

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If the company still existed today, Tito Jackson could be a customer. it just opened Black Summit in a skinny seven-story building near Faneuil Hall, occupying approximately 10,000 square feet across all floors. (The Asian restaurant Kamakura previously used much of the space.) It will operate the top two floors as a bar and lounge starting this spring; the roof level includes a retractable glass ceiling and a view of the Custom House tower. Cannabis sales, meanwhile, take place on the first and second floors. The first sales took place on Saturday, with a grand opening in February.

“For me to be able to be the son of Herb Jackson, and now be able to own a business on State Street, that means the world to me,” Jackson said.

It certainly didn’t happen overnight. After running unsuccessfully for mayor against Marty Walch in 2017, Jackson left elected politics behind — eventually focusing on a fledgling marijuana business, as recreational sales were legalized in the state. He struggled to find financing at first because few banks were willing to work on marijuana. It started with the backing of a multi-state operator, but that relationship fell apart. Now he uses Needham Bankafter that bank acquired the marijuana portfolio of the former Century Bank from Eastern Bank.

Jackson received investments in Verdant Mender (legal trade name of Apex Noire) and friends and family. He started a crowdfunding effort about a year ago, but put it on hold; he plans to restart it soon, accepting investors for as little as $100 each. He ended up getting a dispensary license and an edibles manufacturing license from the state Cannabis Control Commission and is one of the few black business owners in Boston to acquire an alcohol license. locally on the open market.

Jackson has five employees and plans to hire a dozen more in the coming weeks. It is not just about earning a living, but also about providing jobs for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. In a way, Jackson sees his entrepreneurial adventure as similar to his father’s activism.

“It shows we can have a successful black-owned business [in downtown]”, Jackson said. “Not only will we be successful here financially, but we will also have an impact on this neighborhood, the city and the people who live here.

Lego takes a ride on the MBTA

When Lego announced last week that it would move its North American headquarters from Connecticut to Boston, it was vindication for a city struggling with rising office vacancy rates in the wake of COVID-19. But the announcement was also a big win for MassEcon, a non-profit organization that quietly introduces the state to all kinds of employers. Since MassEcon is not a public agency, it can advance projects on the QT, unlike state or municipal agencies which would be subject to public records laws.

In this case, the executive director of MassEcon Pete Abair said the Massachusetts Office of Business Development contacted MassEcon last year after consultants requested complete confidentiality on behalf of “Project Aquarius,” a code name for a relocation project that ultimately turned out to be Lego . MassEcon managed the effort from there until senior state and city officials could be briefed on the company’s identity earlier this month. The Danish company has not yet announced the address of its new office.

Abair said he was impressed that Lego executives came prepared with detailed demographic information about Greater Boston’s workforce; this is something that MassEcon usually implements.

Besides the availability of talent here, Logan Airport and the MBTA were other big pluses for Lego as its executives evaluated various competing locations.

Yes, you heard it right: our accident-prone transit system is always a selling point.

“As maligned as the T is, we have it, it moves people, it moves a lot of people,” Abair said. “It’s a real asset that not all places have.”

Is “mobility pricing” back on the agenda?

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce General manager Jim Rooney saw its hopes of legislating a ‘mobility pricing’ commission dashed last summer, when then-governor charlie baker changed the wording in a way that stuck the proposal in legislative limbo.

Rooney last week promised to take up the cause again this year, in his first “state of affairs” address, delivered to members of the chamber via a live stream. This proposed commission would explore new ways to pay for the state’s aging transportation infrastructure — whether it’s congestion pricing, new tolls, or some other source of revenue. Rooney is particularly worried about the future of the gas tax, a major source of transportation funding that will likely decline over time as electric cars replace gas-powered cars. He didn’t mention Baker by name, but he said the idea was approved by the legislature and not signed by the governor – twice.

“For decades, the state went from one transportation financial crisis to another and always relied on the quick and patchy fix,” Rooney said. “But a targeted mobility pricing commission can set in motion a long-term strategic plan for transportation funding in Massachusetts.”

Maybe he’ll get a more receptive audience now than the Governor Maura Healey took over.

Biogen’s new boss welcomes a new governor

Speaking of Healey, she’s not the only one giving speeches at a new job.

New biogenic General manager Chris Viehbacher delivered the keynote address at a Massachusetts Associated Industries event, organized at Marriott hotel in Newton last week. the old Sanofi the boss took over Michel Vounatsos at Cambridge-based Biogen in November.

In his first public address in Massachusetts as chief executive of Biogen, Viehbacher said the state is the envy of the global life sciences industry.

He pointed out how close investors, universities and research hospitals are to each other here. “This area is capable of attracting talent from all over the world,” he said. “There is no place in the world [like it].”

When Healey, the event’s featured speaker, followed Viehbacher, she noted the similarity in their situations.

“I laughed at him,” said Healey, who had been sworn in as governor three weeks earlier. “He’s been in the job for six weeks. He’s a veteran. »

Walsh receives props and answers a few job applications

For a while, it was rumored that US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh was in the running for another top job in the Biden administration: chief of staff.

Walsh was asked about the rumors by New England Council President jim breta longtime friend who is also from Dorchester, after the former Boston mayor gave a speech to council on Friday in which he spoke of several accomplishments during his time at city hall.

Walsh said he was boarding a plane earlier this month when someone shared a New York Times article about how Ron Klein resigned as White House chief of staff. A short list of possible replacements in the story included Walsh. Last week the President Biden ended up naming Jeff Zients at work.

Walsh seemed to find some humor in the episode. He said on Friday that when his plane landed the day he read the Times article, his phone exploded.

“I texted one or two people and then left,” Walsh said. “When I landed, it was 68 texts: people congratulating me, a few people looking for a job. Got to love Boston: …’I want a White House job.’ Yeah, we’ll put you in right away.


Jon Chesto can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.



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