In Dorchester's Grove Hall sits an empty storefront where a marijuana shop is projected to open sometime next month, its owner says.

But beyond the nondescript facade lies a more complicated story — opposing reactions to the incoming store reflect the challenges inherent in trying to build an equitable industry. While there is wide agreement that striving for equity is a good goal, many residents in places deemed “disproportionately impacted” by marijuana law enforcement before the industry was legalized don’t necessarily want the drug being sold in their backyards. As Boston moves to enter the recreational marijuana industry, this site encapsulates a conflict between equity and NIMBYism.

The incoming Grove Hall store, Pure Oasis, is the first marijuana store to secure both a provisional license to operate and an economic empowerment certification. That status is meant to fulfill a state mandate to foster equity by helping people and communities that were disproportionately harmed by marijuana law enforcement benefit from the now legal industry. Grove Hall is one of 29 such communities.

“This is going to be the first economic empowerment-owned business in the entire state,” said Alexis Tkachuk, director of Boston’s Office of Emerging Industries in a recent interview with WGBH News. “Boston is very proud of that.”

But some residents view it as a hurried dump of another vice in their disinvested neighborhood.

“It sends the wrong message to young people,” said Mike Kozu, co-director of the nonprofit Project Rebuild and Improve Grove Hall Together (R.I.G.H.T.). “Much like the tobacco industry, much like smoke shops, much like liquor stores — that’s really not the answer for what the future of young people in the community is. A marijuana shop, to me, leads us down the same wrong path.”

Kozu and other opponents argue the city rushed its part of the approval process and fear a marijuana store will change the fabric the neighborhood — one that he says is still recovering from decades of crime and drug-related violence. Pure Oasis, he worries, will send the area into relapse, starting with youth.

In Mattapan, where the city recently signed a contract with another economic empowerment applicant, residents have expressed similar concerns, yet the proposal has still advanced.

Even though he’s not a Grove Hall resident, Kozu is among the neighborhood’s most vocal marijuana opponents. He has exchanged emails with city officials since Pure Oasis’ owners signed a contract with the city. He and others say the location is too close to Jeremiah E. Burke High School, even though the city has a certified document asserting that the building meets the distance requirement; marijuana stores are required to be 500 feet from schools.

Tkachuk, who signs marijuana shop contracts on Boston’s behalf, and other city officials say even though public opinion is considered in the approval process, resistance without a “glaring concern” is not enough to stop a shop from opening in an otherwise appropriate location.

“We understand that Boston is a city where some people want to promote equity and expediency for equity candidates in this industry,” she explained. “But we also recognize that we represent all residents of the city of Boston, and that’s why we put the process in place, and that’s why we have rejected other sites that we don’t feel are suitable to communities.”

Tkachuk pointed to three proposals Boston has thus far rejected — one in East Boston, one in Dorchester’s Fields Corner and one in the South End.

“The voters in Boston did approve this, and we are complying with state law, but we are very respectful [of] residents for how they live, raise children here [and] work here,” she added.

Tkachuk's office says it only received four written comments in support of Pure Oasis during the public comment period and no written comments against the store. Ed Gaskin, executive director of Greater Grove Hall Main Streets, said the majority of residents at public meetings voiced opposition.

Boston City Councilor Kim Janey, whose district borders the soon-to-open shop, acknowledges that public meetings and community conversations about Pure Oasis and the broader issue of marijuana shops have been contentious.

"This is difficult. It’s scary. It’s new. Change is hard, and I recognize that,” Janey said in an interview with WGBH News. But marijuana is now legal, and in her view, the challenge is how to best incorporate residents’ concerns into the seemingly inevitable proliferation of cannabis businesses.

“Making sure that the right operators are coming to our neighborhoods when they’re opening up shop is very important,” she said, adding that she hopes to bring proposed equity legislation before the city council soon.

Gaskin said his conversation with Janey shifted his stance from wary to open and more concerned with the community benefits of marijuana businesses.

“Once I had learned that none of the other types of objections that communities made were going to stop it,” he said, “that changed the dynamics on what the focus should be on.”

Gaskin said he still believes the community should have a clearer mechanism for opposing dispensaries in their neighborhoods, but Greater Grove Hall Main Streets will support them, “just like we would support the liquor stores in the community or the health center in the community,” he said.

Richard Harding, co-founder of the newly launched organization Real Action for Cannabis Equity or R.A.C.E, is betting that more people will come to a similar conclusion as more marijuana stores open across the city.

“Once this stuff gets rolling, you won’t have those same conversations, and everybody [will have] to understand and accept that this will happen in your neighborhood,” Harding said in a telephone interview with WGBH News.

“There’s still this taboo about cannabis,” he said, pointing to opposition he has heard from residents at meetings in West Roxbury and the South End.

Harding thinks limiting economic empowerment applicants to areas of disproportionate impact is a barrier to industry equity. One change his organization advocates for is a one-to-one state rule, whereby economic empowerment and regular applicants would be receive state licenses in alternating order.

Another idea would be to designate prime locations — high traffic, transit-oriented shopping centers — then regulate their distribution evenly between the two types of applicants. Those two things, Harding said, would help ensure equity across neighborhoods and among business types.

“It’s just giving everybody a fair shot,” Harding said.

Kozu, who has vowed to continue challenging the Grove Hall shop, said he believes the economic empowerment benefits of the new industry are overstated.

“It’s like a liquor store. How much economic empowerment does a liquor store provide?” he asked. “We get stuck having to clean up issues that other people create.”