Some members of the state’s cannabis community are calling for a boycott of NETA after the Massachusetts pharmacy’s parent company fired Kim Napoli, a member of the executive team.
Napoli was Senior Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Affairs at Parallel, NETA’s parent company. A NETA spokeswoman said Napoli was leaving her role because of a policy of parallel conflict of interest.
“Kim’s husband has had a hemp-based clothing store in Massachusetts since 1995. This store recently opened a cannabis dispensary that competes directly with our nearby Northampton pharmacy,” the statement said. “Our company’s conflict of interest policy does not allow Kim to continue in her current role. We would not adhere to our own guidelines that all of our employees must follow. Kim has contributed a lot to our organization and we want to thank her for everything she has done. “
Napoli’s husband, Jonathan Napoli, is listed on Northampton City records as the treasurer of The Hempest, a recreational cannabis dispensary. The hemp received approval to open in February from the state cannabis control commission.
A call to Napoli went unanswered on Tuesday afternoon.
Jonathan Napoli told The Boston Globe that his wife told NETA that he planned to sell cannabis at The Hempest, even though she was not involved in the project.
According to an estimate by Google Maps, the Hempest at 2 Conz St. is about 0.6 km or a minute’s drive from the NETA store at 118 Conz St..
Part of Napoli’s role has been equity initiatives, including a grant program that has provided funding for economic empowerment or social justice cannabis licensees for the purchase of safety equipment.
“Our commitment to social justice in cannabis remains unwavering. We are grateful to Kim for helping us build a foundation that supports our mission, ”the NETA statement continued. “We are involved in the efforts and initiatives of the local community through our NETA Cares team, and that effort will only intensify over time. We also have national advocacy partnerships with groups like the Minority Cannabis Business Association and Cannaclusive that will further advance our social justice programs. “
Napoli’s layoff came while their baby daughter Shea was battling a rare form of pediatric leukemia to raise funds to help support the family, according to a GoFundMe site.
Grant Ellis is a member of the state cannabis community currently organizing a boycott against NETA. She cites Napoli’s discharge while her daughter is in the hospital.
“NETA / Parallel’s decision to fire Kim while Kim’s 1-year-old daughter is battling acute megakaryoblastic leukemia in the hospital with Kim by her side is incomprehensible,” Ellis said Tuesday. “NETA / Parallel’s behavior in connection with this layoff, as well as a laundry list of health and safety complaints from employees from previous years, led directly to the decision to initiate the NETA / Parallel boycott today. When a company treats its employees like this, it reflects the worst form of cannabis greed. “
Last year, NETA was charged with anti-union tactics allegations of workers being fired or threatened for collective bargaining.
NETA denied these claims.
“We support the right of everyone to join or not join a union. However, since NETA already offers progressive wages and benefits and a collaborative work environment, we do not believe that a union is necessary,” NETA said in a statement at the time. “We are in the middle of a union organizing campaign and union tactics like filing complaints are not uncommon.”
In November 2018, NETA opened its doors to customers in Northampton, one of the first two adult cannabis stores to open on the east coast.