A blazing fire pit, colorful Christmas lights, and live music created an ambiance of festivity in local pub Dunn-Gaherin’s Food and Spirits on Wednesday night, where a collaborative event with Redi Marijuana Dispensary served community members food, drinks, and cannabis-infused gravy.
“It’s really just to support local businesses and small businesses—we’re all about safe consumption when it comes to cannabis,” Lisa Burke, Redi’s director of retail operations, said. “So for those people who partake in cannabis, like edibles, we thought, ‘Why not?’ The gravy will kind of elevate your Thanksgiving.”
Harpoon Brewery and catering company Better Life Food also contributed to the event, which was designed to promote safe cannabis consumption and education, according to Burke. She said that typically, a large part of how Redi communicates with the community is through word of mouth because of the difficulty of advertising a dispensary.
“We are a collaboration of people who all love what we do [and] love each other,” Burke said. “The whole stigma about cannabis … it should really stop already. So we’d like to start that education.”
Todd Finard, co-founder of Redi, said the company’s community engagement in Newton and Needham has received mixed responses, but he thinks there will be more opportunities for Redi as the cannabis industry changes.
“[The industry] has changed dramatically from when we started to where we are today,” Finard said. “I think that the destigmatization of cannabis has been a real thing.”
Finard said Redi has made a real effort to engage and connect with other local businesses.
“We’re a local company, or locally owned and locally operated,” Finard said. “So it’s really important that we operate in the neighborhoods that we conduct our business in.”
Redi has worked with Dunn-Gaherin’s Food and Spirits on multiple occasions, according to Finard. He said the pub was an early supporter of Redi’s opening in Newton, and the two businesses have been able to help each other.
“This was a really cool opportunity to not only highlight their food and beverage but to infuse it with some of what we do and celebrate that we’re both in the same neighborhood and good neighbors,” Finard said.
Seana Gaherin, owner of Dunn-Gaherin’s Food and Spirits, said the collaboration was a way to educate people on the safe use of cannabis when drinking.
“We wanted to partner with them to show that even if you do want to do cannabis, you can still go out and have a few beers and then you can use at home,” Gaherin said. “So we tried to introduce that as a partnership and involvement that way.”
Gaherin said that the pub’s purpose is to bring community members together, as Irish pubs have historically acted as a center for connection and the sharing of information.
“What we’ve tried to kind of emulate here is that we basically really wanted to invest in the neighborhood, and people live on getting to know our neighbors and being part of the community,” Gaherin said. “And that’s what we build our business on.”
Despite Dunn-Gaherin and Redi having hosted events together in the past, Gaherin said she believes working together with other businesses goes particularly well with the spirit of the holiday season.
“Thanksgiving was kind of a nice time to do it because there’s so many people starting to feel the season, and this is a really good time to be part of the people,” Gaherin said. “Thanksgiving is an event—it’s all about family and people coming back to their neighborhoods and doing fun things dependent around food.”