• Proposed pot shop owners make their pitch to East Boston

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    BOSTON, Mass. - As recreational shops continue to open across the state, one duo tried their best to make their case for a recreational pot shop in East Boston.

    The father and son behind the proposed pot shop tried their best to win over the crowd, even bringing a Harvard doctor to help strengthen their argument.

    "We’ll be creating 10 full-time employees," said Sohail Halani. "We will have a multilingual staff."

    The store would sell marijuana to anyone 21 or older and no medical card is required for the purchase. They would serve an estimated two to three hundred customers every day.

    "People like me need you guys here, instead of taking all these pills for my anxiety and bipolar I would rather smoke weed than take my pills," said one resident.

    Several people voiced their support for the business, but most who spoke up said they were against the project.

    "I voted for both laws and I'm in favor of opening a hundred shops, but like everything else its location, location, location," said Joseph Mason. "We are getting killed with traffic."

    For many, the concerns seem to have stemmed from the traffic woes Leicester and Northampton residents are facing after the first two recreational pot shops in the state opened in those locations.

    "I want to come home and be able to go to my house and not have to fight over parking," said a resident.

    Added congestion is one issue, but also the proximity to a mental health facility that serves addicts is another concern residents shared.

    "You don’t put an abortion clinic next to a Catholic church and you don't put a cannabis facility next to a rehabilitation clinic," said Charles Livingston, a resident.

    Arish Halani, the president of Omnicann, the company looking to open the store, says he's done his homework and assures any and all issues raised will be addressed.

    "We are going to continue to move forward and try our best to listen to everyone and while we trying we are going to be good neighbors," said Arish.

    Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards attended the meeting. Edwards is calling for a city-wide ban that would prohibit marijuana and liquor stores from opening near addiction treatment centers.

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