Massachusetts’ first two stores to legally sell recreational marijuana opened amid fanfare on Tuesday. It is only the beginning of what is expected to... Two Massachusetts marijuana stores are open: What’s next?

Massachusetts’ first two stores to legally sell recreational marijuana opened amid fanfare on Tuesday.

It is only the beginning of what is expected to be a new billion dollar-plus industry, which could take years to ramp up.

“Realistically, to be a really full-fledged industry, they’ll need 200 to 300 stores in the next few years, and it will take that long to get to that number,” said Jim Smith, a partner at Smith, Costello & Crawford, who represents marijuana companies.

Cultivate in Leicester and New England Treatment Access in Northampton became the first two companies in Massachusetts to sell recreational cannabis, two years after voters approved a ballot question legalizing it. While their opening is historic, marking the first time cannabis was sold legally east of the Mississippi River, it will take time to reach the point where any adult consumer can drive up to a convenient store and easily buy marijuana.

“Marijuana is widely consumed and popular among Massachusetts adults. There’s going to be large demand,” said Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group that advocates for marijuana legalization. “At the start, there won’t be many stores to service that demand.” [Read More @ Masslive]

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