Boston Dive Bar Could Be Site of Recreational Marijuana Dispensary

A dive bar that long served drinks in Boston's Cleveland Circle could soon be a store where pot is sold.

Happy Valley Ventures is moving forward with a plan to buy Mary Ann's bar and transform it into a recreational marijuana shop. More than 100 people packed into a community meeting in Brighton Monday night to discuss the potential dispensary.

Pino's Pizza owner Feliciano Petruzzielo doesn't like it. He said he was disgusted at the possibility of a pot shop opening across the street from the pizzeria he says he's owned for 60 years.

"Absolutely against it, because what is happening is we are selling our soul to the devil here," Petruzzielo said.

"It is a great location in terms of neighborhood access to the T, it has good parking with meters around the location," Michael Reardon with Happy Valley Ventures said Monday. "It touched all the points that are important to us for somewhere we would want to invest."

Reardon addressed dozens of attendees to discuss his intentions with the business.

"We are going to run a first class operation, we have a facility that will be closing at 9 p.m., we are going to renovate the building, we are going to give back to the community," Reardon said. "We think you compare that to a bar that has been closing at 2 o'clock in the morning, we are not a detriment to what's already been at this location."

Stephen Herrera was in the crowd to show his support for the shop.

"The citizens passed the law," he said. "I think we should embrace it, its a business like no other."

Still, Reardon is facing strong opposition, including from nearby Boston College.

"I think there could be a better location, the community is speaking here and I don't want to see our students hurt," former Boston Police Commissioner and now Boston College Police Chief William Evans said. "I know its legal, I never agreed with it, the last two years as Commissioner I made it clear, nothing good comes from it."

Happy Valley Ventures says the earliest it could open is late 2019 or during the first quarter of 2020.

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