More than two years since a Massachusetts ballot initiative authorized recreational marijuana use, the state’s first two non-medical marijuana emporiums are slated to open. These spots in Northampton and Leicester are the first such stores in the east, so crowds are expected to be heavy and will see police details to keep order, the Associated Press reported.
Cultivate in Leicester and New England Treatment Access (NETA) in Northampton, Mass. planned to open at 8 a.m. local time. Unlike medical marijuana dispensaries, which require consumers to register as a patient, the new recreational centers can serve people over 21 with proof of age. Customers will be able to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana. There are also cannabis-infused products such as gum and brownies. Buyers will need cash at Cultivate, although NETA will take some debit and credit cards with pins. Because marijuana is still a restricted substance at the federal level, most banks and credit card processors steer clear.
The first two symbolic customers will be disabled Iraq War veteran Stephen Mandile at Cultivate and Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, also a veteran, at NETA, according to the Boston Globe.
“I’m proud to go to new businesses that create new tax revenue for the city and be there for their opening,” Narkewicz told the Globe. “I’m not going to act any differently because the new business happens to be adult-use marijuana.”
However, Narkewicz says he won’t inhale—or consume, as his plans are to buy something edible, according to The Republican. “It’s going to be historic, so most likely I’ll have it framed and save it for posterity in my office,” Narkewicz told the paper.
One potential complication for customers could be the weather. The region is in the middle of a snowstorm, which could hamper traffic. But even with frustration, signs are good that, after a visit, consumers will be mellow.