Two years after Massachusetts voters approved recreational legalization in the state, and after numerous delays at the state and local level, sales of cannabis in the Bay State have finally begun.
On Tuesday morning, two licensed retailers—New England Treatment Access (NETA) in Northampton and Cultivate in Leicester—will begin legal sales of cannabis, opening the first regulated market on the East Coast.
While many more retailers across the state have yet to open their doors, the launch marks an key milestone in the legalization movement. Leafly will be monitoring the first day of sales and providing updates throughout the day from both from Leafly headquarters and on the ground in Massachusetts.
Doors Open at NETA Northampton
Photo by Avital Norman Nathman
The line at NETA wrapped around the parking lot and two subsequent streets, showing no sign of slowing down despite the unrelenting sleet. Daquaan Hamilton, 22, showed up at 12:35 this morning to secure his spot as the first customer in line. A little numb below his knees by 8 a.m. when the dispensary planned to open, Hamilton had been up for 22 hours by the time we spoke.
“I knew this is a huge step for the state and the country,” he says. “I wanted to be the first person to buy weed legally east of the Mississippi!” Despite calling himself an infrequent consumer of cannabis, his plan was to purchase a RUBI vape pen and some edible gummies.
While Hamilton was the first customer “off the street,” the first official person to purchase legal recreational cannabis was Northampton Mayor, David Narkewicz, who bought a chocolate bar from NETA. During a press conference the day before, the Mayor discussed the significance of a politician being the first customer. “I think there’s a lot going on here in trying to bring marijuana out of the shadows,” Narkewicz said, noting that there is still [a] stigma that needs to be broken down around cannabis.
When asked whether his purchase will actually be consumed, Narkewicz demurred, stating, “I am actually going to probably preserve it and display it… because it is historically significant.”
—Avital Norman Nathman
When Do Sales Start?
If you’re planning to show up, be sure to come prepared. Bring cash, a government-issued photo ID, and as much patience as you can muster—lines at both shops are expected to be long as shoppers from around the state descend on its only two approved retailers.
For a sense of what’s in stock, Leafly has both the Northampton and Leicester menus available online. We’ve also put together a guide to Massachusetts cannabis products as well as some of our favorite of the state’s medical marijuana products, many of which are slated to become available to adult-use consumers. For a sense of some of the state’s favorite flavors, check out our guide to the top trending cannabis strains in Massachusetts.
When Will More Stores Open?
While exact opening dates aren’t yet known, dozens more retail outlets across the state are in the process of obtaining final licenses from state and local regulators. Leafly is tracking those dispensaries here, and more will become available on Leafly Finder as they begin adult-use sales.
Leafly has all sorts of resources, from an FAQ about what to expect on day one to how to handle a too-intense cannabis high. If you’re new or recently returning to cannabis, start with some of our Cannabis 101 resources. For a bit more focused information, consult our Health, Lifestyle, or Strains and Products sections. In need of some Massachusetts munchies? We’ve got you covered there, too.
Congratulations, Massachusetts! All of us here at Leafly wish you a warm welcome to legal era.