Two stores west of Worcester will open their doors Tuesday morning to an expected rush of people looking to make long-awaited pot purchases. The openings come more than two years after Massachusetts voted to approve a ballot question giving recreational marijuana the green light.
Cultivate Holdings in Leicester and New England Treatment Access in Northampton will become the first stores on the East Coast to sell recreational marijuana, making Massachusetts the seventh state to allow it. Traffic is expected to be heavy as media and pot pilgrims make their way to the Central and Western Mass. communities. Both stores already sell medical marijuana.
NETA will open at 8 a.m. and close at 10 p.m., and will continue to do so seven days a week. The Northampton location’s menu (there’s also a medical dispensary in Brookline) has a smorgasbord of options, with one gram of marijuana going for $15 and four ounces for $1,000. NETA is at 118 Conz St., Northampton.
Cultivate will usually open at 10 a.m. and close at 6 p.m., according to its website, but on Tuesday it opens at 8 a.m. The menu has items going for as low as $10, but you’ll need $15 for the peanut butter oatmeal cookie and $25 for the coconut lime macaroon. Cultivate is at 1764 Main St., Leicester.
Pharmacannis Massachusetts in Wareham has a final retail license but has more hoops to jump through before becoming the first recreational marijuana retailer in Eastern Mass. Several other retail licenses are being considered.
An Iraq veteran is set to make the first purchase at Cultivate at 8 a.m., The Boston Globe reported. Around the same time, Air Force veteran and Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz will be make the first recreational marijuana purchase at NETA.
“As a supporter, long-time supporter, both of legalization of medical marijuana and as a supporter of adult-use marijuana, I think it sends an important message that I’d be the first person to make that purchase,” Narkewicz said at a press conference at NETA. “There’s obviously been a lot of stigma around marijuana in this country. Massachusetts has moved forward on it … and Northampton has been a strong supporter of that.”
There are still a strict set of laws set up around the sale, possession, and consumption of marijuana: just like alcohol, you have to be 21 years or older to purchase, and you’ll have to present government-issued identification. You also can’t drive while high – operating under the influence of marijuana carries with it the same penalties as operating under the influence of alcohol.
You will only be allowed to smoke at your home or other private places. If you rent, your landlord could prohibit it. You can still consume edibles even if you rent.
Pot is only permitted in your vehicle if it’s in a sealed container or in the trunk or locked glove box.
State regulations say you can only buy up to an ounce of marijuana and up to five grams of marijuana concentrate, but even that may be tough to come by Tuesday. The anticipated high demand could mean “it is possible that there will be some initial purchase limits,” NETA said.
There is also a 5 milligram serving size limit for edibles.
If you’re making the drive, be safe and bring cash. Some bank and credit cards aren’t up to speed on accepting marijuana purchases yet.
Recreational marijuana purchases will be subject to a 6.25 percent sales tax, a 10.75 percent excise tax, and potentially a 3 percent tax from the municipality it’s in.
Photo: A customer pays for cannabis products at Essence Vegas Cannabis Dispensary after the start of recreational marijuana sales began on July 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nevada joins seven other states allowing recreational marijuana use and becomes the first of four states that voted to legalize recreational sales in November’s election to allow dispensaries to sell cannabis for recreational use to anyone over 21. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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