Boston has approved a contract with the city's second state-certified economic empowerment applicant to operate a recreational marijuana store. The business is one of nine initially approved by Massachusetts to help communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Altogether, 122 businesses received the designation, which comes with a priority application review.

The proposed business, Mojos, now needs approval from the Boston Zoning Board in order to pursue state licensure. The host community agreement, which the city's Department of Emerging Industries signed last week, is also the first for a cannabis business in Mattapan.

"It's exciting," said former City Councilor Tito Jackson, who has one of several pending dispensary proposals in the same neighborhood. "I'm very happy that another economic empowerment application has been approved in Boston. It is critical that people from communities disproportionately affected have an opportunity to be at the front of the line."

Others like Jim Borghesani, chief cannabis officer at the marijuana consulting firm Tudestr, reacted with both celebration and criticism.

"Any signing of an agreement with an economic empowerment or social equity applicant is a positive thing for the industry and for the state in general," Borghesani said, pointing to the state programs intended to foster equity in the burgeoning legal marijuana industry. At the same time, Borghesani criticized the slow rollout of legal marijuana in Boston. Not one recreational retail store has yet to open in the city.

"While we're very happy to see these host community agreements signed, it's still disappointing that it's taken so long to get to the point that we're just reaching now," he said. "It's not good for the industry, it's not good for eliminating the illegal market, and it's not good for helping realize the tax revenue that we can get from legal cannabis."

The owners of Mojos — V. Jody Mendoza Pekala and Richy Peña, who are married, and an investor, Carlos Castillo — did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The city's first economic empowerment applicant, who plans to operate in Grove Hall on the Roxbury-Dorchester line, signed its host community agreement with the city in February.

The Mojos proposal is moving forward despite vocal community opposition at its required public meeting last December. Fatima Ali-Salaam, chair of the Greater Mattapan Neighborhood Council, said nearly all of the neighborhood's marijuana proposals have been met with contention at public meetings.

"I know a lot of people were concerned about their proximity to the library," Ali-Salaam said. The proposed shop is north of Mattapan Square, and sits about a quarter mile from the Boston Public Library's Mattapan branch, which features various programs for children and a teen center. Ali-Salaam said the neighborhood group has not taken an official position on any of the several marijuana stores proposed in the neighborhood, but wants to be sure they don't disrupt life for residents or the viability of other establishments.

"Just like any other business, we want to make sure that other businesses are not hindered by their presence," she said, pointing to concerns about security and parking.

The new host community agreement requires that the company maintain the security plan it presented to the city. At a December public meeting, the business owners presented a power point with a vow to hire a "highly trained security force" to supplement a police detail as needed.

Clarification: This article has been updated to reflect that 122 businesses have been designated as economic empowerment applicants to operate recreational marijuana stores. Nine businesses were initially approved for this designation.