BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The owner of Massachusetts Green Retail is preparing to open up shop and sell recreational cannabis on the north shore. But on Monday afternoon, he got a call notifying him that there had been a disturbing break in at the storefront he’s renting in Lynn.
Inside, Jordan Avery found the ground covered in white powder that was sprayed from fire extinguishers, and the walls were plastered in anti-Semitic graffiti. The floor was scattered with empty alcohol bottles, and arguably the most disturbing image; a noose tied around a knife was left hanging from the ceiling.
Avery says the sight left him “speechless.” The 25 year old CEO says he spent “less than a minute” inside the building, which is now the scene of the most recent anti-Semitic attack to hit the Greater Boston community.
Avery, who is African-American and is converting to Judaism, says he’s “upset that this type of hatred and anti-Semitism is happening,” but he says that he “will not allow these haters, racist individuals, or anyone” to stop him from “being a cannabis entrepreneur.”
The owner of the building, Julius Sokol, is also Jewish. He says “It’s a very disturbing, unfortunate situation, and in 2019, this kind of hate doesn’t belong anywhere.”
The executive director of the New England Anti-Defamation League, Robert Trestan, says it’s obvious to him that the suspects are “using racism and anti-Semitism to try and intimidate a Jewish and African American entrepreneur. It’s pretty blatant and it’s pretty disgusting.”
Avery’s proposed cannabis shop has been at the center of an ongoing controversy with the neighboring town of Saugus, which is embroiled in a lawsuit because the store and its parking lot are about ten inches over the Lynn/Saugus line, and Saugus doesn’t allow marijuana businesses. But there are no leads on any suspects, so police are unsure if the attack has anything to do with the lawsuit.
The incident at Avery’s shop follows a disturbing trend throughout the Greater Boston area. Last week, anti-Semitic fliers denying the Holocaust were found outside a synagogue in Marblehead. Since the start of the year, there have been at least two attempted arson attacks at synagogues in Arlington and Needham, and suspects desecrated nearly 60 headstones in a Jewish cemetery in Fall River.
Trestan says the recent uptick in racist and anti-Semitic attacks across the nation over the past few years is likely due to a political climate in which racist people feel emboldened enough to take such actions. Police say there is no security footage of the incident.
Blunt Talk is a podcast about cannabis hosted by Brit Smith every Monday. You can listen to all previous podcasts on iHeartRadio.