Aaron and Janelle Goines, the owners of prospective Wareham Delivery Operator firm "The Emerald Turtle", have been given a Host Community Agreement by the Board of Selectpersons tonight.
That local process has been the cause of agony for so many local operators, and the Goines now become the second Black owned delivery operator company with an HCA in the state.
Janelle and Aaron have served on the board of the Massachusetts Cannabis Association For Delivery (MCAD) since its inception; the organization credited by many with the establishment of the Delivery Operator license in the Commonwealth over the summer of 2020.
The first Black-owned Delivery Operator to obtain a host community, Devin Alexander, also sits on the Board of MCAD and serves as its Vice President.
The new Delivery Operator license, including a 3 year period during which only participants in the state's Social Equity or Economic Empowerment programs may seek the license, was created in the summer of 2020 following a contentious series of public hearings in front of the state's Cannabis Control Commission. At the time, equity advocates (including The Goines, Alexander and others) fought toe to toe with some of the most well funded companies in the entire state and came out victorious, having created the new license type despite a flurry of last minute objections from those wealthy brick and mortar retail operators.
Prior to that point, the Commission had envisioned a cannabis courier license that would have limited equity companies to serving as only Uber-eats style couriers for existing brick and mortar operations.
The Delivery Operator license type, on the other hand, will allow equity delivery companies to own their own warehouse and vault, buy products from other manufacturers and cultivators, and deliver those products directly to consumers following an online sale.
Not everyone was a fan though, as the same corporate interests who attempted to stop the roll out of the new Delivery Operator license in front of the CCC then went on to file a lawsuit, in January of 2021, seeking to have both the 3 year equity period and the entire delivery operator license ruled illegal.
Before the case could even reach an initial stage, however, advocates lead a successful boycott effort and the suit was dropped (clearing the way for both the license type, and the delivery priority period, to go forward).
That process culminated in an HCA approval for the Goines in Wareham this evening.
With one battle finished, however, another begins; the Goines will now need to await the Cannabis Control Commission to release the Delivery Operator license application on the state level.
Last week, Commission Executive Director Sean Collins told Commissioners in a public meeting that the license is expected to be made available to the public before the end of this month.
Speaking to me earlier this month, Aaron Goines said of the CCC's progress towards releasing the license application;
"I think its very encouraging that the CCC is remaining on track and that the delivery operator application should become available this spring. This has been long awaited and anticipated, and many applicants are exhausting personal resources to maintain property, retain lawyers, get through the HCA process and things of that nature."
This story is breaking and will be updated.