Visiting Ascend In North Station

From their downtown spot on Friend Street in North Station to the personalities behind the operation, Ascend Wellness is already a significant player in the Mass cannabis space. Even though it’s only been open since May, there’s been a buzz about the place even beyond the city, with scores of satisfied stoned Celtics and Bruins fans passing through all spring.

We met up with Andrea Cabral, the CEO of Ascend Wellness in Mass, soon after they opened their doors to the public. The former Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety has been vocal about how the industry should operate for several years, and her work with Ascend has been an opportunity to show and prove.

“From the beginning, we set out to be a different kind of cannabis company,” Cabral told the Dig. “We wanted to be a model for how the cannabis industry was created and grew in Massachusetts—especially around social equity.”

As a former prosecutor, Cabral said she has thought about these issues since long before she teamed up with Ascend.

“I don’t drink, I never have,” she said. “I just don’t like the taste of alcohol. But I have spent a career seeing what alcohol has wrought in the lives of people.

“By comparison, cannabis, which does none of these things, is demonized and stigmatized and in some cases overly regulated. So it wasn’t that big of a leap for me to do this.”

With Ascend, Cabral noted that among diversity considerations in hiring and other programs,  

“we’re trying to promote impact consumerism, so we offer all of our customers the opportunity to learn about the Last Prisoner Project and to make a donation that we will match.”

As for the product selection …

“We also happen to have a fabulous store with a gigantic menu,” Cabral said, “and the best staff in retail in the state.”

No doubt we’ll be back to sample from their Ozone line soon.