Recreational Marijuana Opens In MA Tuesday: What To Know

Recreational Marijuana Opens In MA Tuesday: What To Know
Pot shops north of the CT border ready for legal marijuana sales
CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil reports from Northampton, Massachusetts, where one of two stores opening in the state is located and where David Narkewicz will welcome legal recreational marijuana as both the ceremonial first customer and the towns mayor.

“I think theres a lot going on here in trying to bring marijuana out of the shadows,” Narkewicz said.

But when asked whether the purchase is simply ceremonial or it will be consumed, Narkewicz said, “I am actually going to probably preserve it and display it…because it is historically significant.”

Cultivate was Worcester Countys first medical marijuana dispensary and opened on Dec. 1, 2017. Tuesday morning, it will make history along with New England Treatment Access (NETA) LLC in Northampton with the first retail sales of weed.

Video: Massachusetts opens first recreational pot stores

Massachusetts is the seventh state to open retail marijuana shops, but the first to open them east of the Mississippi. The milestone comes as the cannabis industry celebrates a series of new highs.

Earlier this month, Michigan became the first Midwestern state to approve recreational cannabis– joining 10 other states and Washington, D.C. In October, Canada became the first major world economy to legalize recreational marijuana.

Video: Recreational marijuana sales start Tuesday, Northampton braces for traffic

But the steady march of marijuana legalization has Dr. Sharon Levy concerned. She runs the adolescent substance use and addiction program at Boston Childrens Hospital.

“Instead of saying, Well, well assume these things are safe until theyre proven harmful, maybe we should be saying These things might be harmful until theyre proven safe. I dont think thats something weve done a very good job with,” Levy said.

SALEM, MASS. (WHDH) – Three more retail locations were given the green light to sell recreational marijuana in Massachusetts on Tuesday as people lined up in Leicester and Northampton to be among the first customers at the first two legal pot shops on the U.S. East Coast.

Video: Excitement Builds Ahead Of First Recreational Marijuana Sales In Mass.

Legalizing Marijuana Is One Of New Connecticut Governors Priorities

Amanda Rositano is the director of operational compliance for New England Treatment Access – or NETA – which, as of today, sells a range of cannabis products including pre-rolled joints, loose buds, oils and edibles to anyone over the age of 21.

Under Massachusetts law, sales and use of marijuana, as well as entry into recreational dispensaries, are limited to adults 21 and older. Sellers must cap marijuana flower sales at 1 ounce and concentrated marijuana at 5 grams, per customer. Cash, credit and debit cards are accepted and a PIN number is required for both credit and debit card purchases.

“I think dependence can be an issue just like dependence can be an issue when it comes to ice cream. We will advocate using moderation, educate people about cannabis,” Rositano said.

An image of the chocolate bar purchased by the mayor. Source:  David Narkewicz MoreWhen asked about projected revenues for the city, Narkewicz said the figures are unknown. While hes expecting a high volume of sales, he says theres no data to accurately reflect recreational demand in his region.

Under Massachusetts law, retail shops can sell each customer no more than an ounce of flower or 20 servings of edibles – both in child-resistant packaging. For now, those restrictions and others are good enough for Mayor Narkewizc.

“Legalization would restore the federal governments ability to regulate a powerful new industry thoroughly and thoughtfully,” he writes. “It would allow us to set packaging and advertising rules, so marketing cant target kids. It would help set labeling requirements and quality standards, so consumers know exactly what theyre buying. It would ensure that we can dedicate funding to encourage safe use and spread awareness about the risks of impaired driving. And it would create tax revenue for research on mental health effects, safe prescription drugs, and a reliable roadside test.”

“There has been marijuana use going on in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a long, long time. Whats changing is its now being regulated. Its now being tested. Its now being strictly monitored. Thats really the major change thats happening,” Narkewizc said.

Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 15-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

Massachusetts Cannabis Stores Open

Massachusetts legalized recreational marijuana more than two years ago, but retail stores had to meet a number of rigorous conditions laid out by the state before opening. The initial small rollout is intentional. Lawmakers are hoping to avoid problems other states, like Colorado, have faced such as increases in crime.

Will Connecticut Be Next?

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