Worcester, Massachusetts saw the opening of its very first equity shop called New Dia through a host community agreement (HCA). Founder Ross Bradshaw was the first applicant in Central Massachusetts under the first economic empowerment program and the fourth in the state according to Worcester Business Journal.

Equity Shop New Dia Opens in Worceste

The social equity provision in cannabis programs across the United States is designed to help individuals disproportionately affected by marijuana prohibition and the implementation of marijuana laws. It seeks to provide economic empowerment not only to individuals but communities that were negatively impacted by the War on Drugs.

Bradshaw’s entry into the marijuana market in Worcester is a milestone for the city’s industry as New Dia is the first in the city to be granted a license under the social equity program. With this achievement, Bradshaw said, “One of the things that’s different about us is that we specifically looked for communities that were identified by the state as harmed (by the War on Drugs) or had high arrest rates, because that’s what we want, that’s where we can make the most meaningful impact.”

To further home in on its social equity goals, New Dia pledged to donate the first $5,000 it earned in sales to the South Worcester Neighborhood Improvement Corp. This organization has been operating for 52 years and has been running a food bank in South Worcester.

New Dia will specialize in marijuana and marijuana products retail. The dispensary is the sixth retail store to open in the city after Good Chemistry, Diem Cannabis, Resinate, Mission Dispensary, and The Botanist.

Aside from the recently launched dispensary in the city, Bradshaw is currently planning the opening of a second location in Boston, particularly in the Cask ‘n’ Flagon building, according to Mass Live.

Bradshaw expressed his optimism about this new venture, saying, “I’m super excited. I have to punch myself. It’s right smackdown on Lansdowne, right outside Fenway Park, but at the same time it also means that there’s a lot of responsibility, making sure that we do this right and that we’re good neighbors to the Boston Red Sox.”

The dispensary was able to secure its HCA, a deal between a company and a municipality for licensing, back in November 2020. It is currently undergoing license processing with the state’s Cannabis Control Commission. Like its achievement in Worcester, the company is the first one to acquire HCAs in both cities.

With experience in Worcester, Bradshaw finds it easier to enter the Boston market. He said, “We can replicate a lot of what we’ve already done (in Worcester) and have that huge impact in another community, in Boston.”

Equity Shop

However, the company is facing some challenges, especially with its location near Boston’s most popular attractions. Bradshaw noted, “It means that we have to be good stewards, we have to be good neighbors, we have to set a good example. That’s something we don’t take lightly and that’s going to be our primary focus, is safety and then also just making sure we represent this industry in the light that we want and that we stay true to our economic empowerment vision.”

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