The first two adult-use retail outlets are finally open in Massachusetts, more than two years after voters decided to legalize cannabis in the state, Fortune reports.
Two stores open today: Cultivate, in Leicester; and New England Treatment Access (NETA), in Northampton. They’re the first commercial cannabis retail outlets open to the general public on the East Coast. Customers need cash — though they can reportedly use a debit card at NETA — and ID showing that they’re over 21. Massachusetts law allows for purchase of up to one ounce of flower.
The cannabis licensing and approval process in Massachusetts has been fraught with delays. The state has been slow and careful in approving businesses for each stage of the supply and testing chain. Hopefully, today will signal a flood of new license approvals and “commence operations” notices from the state government for the remaining applicants.
Both retail outlets selected symbolic first customers. At Cultivate, the first customer was disabled Iraq War veteran Stephen Mandile and at NETA it was Northampton’s Mayor David Narkewicz, also a veteran.
“I’m proud to go to new businesses that create new tax revenue for the city and be there for their opening. I’m not going to act any differently because the new business happens to be adult-use marijuana.” — Mayor David Narkewicz, to the Boston Globe
There is a slight complication, however, as Massachusetts is in the middle of a snowstorm. Crowds are expected nonetheless. At Cultivate, CEO Sam Barber said they will have heated tents, music, and food despite the snow. Police details will also be on hand to help monitor the crowd during the snowstorm and to dissuade any potential impaired driving.