Mass. Prepares for 1st Recreational Marijuana Sales

Northampton and Leicester will open the first recreational marijuana shops in the state on Tuesday

What to Know

  • Legal sales of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts begin on Tuesday with one store in Leicester and the other in Northampton.
  • Massachusetts will be the first eastern state in the U.S. to allow legal pot shops.
  • Voters chose to legalize recreational sales in 2016, but it has taken officials two years to do so.

Big lines are expected Tuesday when Massachusetts opens its first two recreational marijuana shops in Northampton and Leicester.

The state will become the seventh in the U.S. to allow adults over 21-years-old to purchase pot for recreational use and the first eastern state to do so. Both stores will operate as regulated, taxpaying businesses with a license.

Cultivate Holdings, the Leicester store, will open its doors at 8 a.m. on Tuesday and Northampton store New England Treatment Access will do the same.

Those who are going to Cultivate will need to park at the Everlast Nursery, which is located at 1894 Main St. There, patrons can take a shuttle bus to the dispensary. Medical patients will still be able to park onsite, according to Cultivate President Sam Barber.

Credit cards will not be accepted at Cultivate, but cash and debit terminals will be available. Medical patients will have dedicated lines and terminals so their transactions could be done quickly.

"This has been a positive impact on the community overall," Barber said. "This product really does help people. There's such an immense amount of tax revenue that’s going to be created for the state from a market that’s always been here. Now, we get to make sure that product is regulated."

Steve Hoffman, chair of the Cannabis Control Commission, toured New England Treatment Access Monday.

"I'm not surprised that everything here is the way I believe it should be because we have inspected thoroughly and repeatedly," Hoffman said. "There were no surprises here today."

New England Treatment Access' director of operational compliance had some advice for first-time users of edibles, suggesting a "low and slow" approach.

"Typically, if you're using an edible, don't take more than 5 miligrams. Wait two hours, see how you feel, and only then add a little bit more," said Amanda Rositano.

Massachusetts voters chose to legalize recreational use of marijuana in 2016, but it has taken officials more than two years to determine where the first stores could open. Originally, retail sales were expected to begin July 1.

Consumers over the age of 21 with a valid ID will be able to purchase one ounce of marijuana from licensed stores or dispensaries. No more than five grams will be allowed to sell in concentrate form and public use of pot is prohibited.

Adults who purchase marijuana products must have it closed in a container and stored in the trunk of a vehicle or glove compartment when traveling with them. They may have up to one ounce on them at a time and up to 10 ounces in their home.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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