Recreational marijuana sales have begun in Massachusetts. Two legal pot shops opened Tuesday morning. Cultivate in Leicester and New England Treatment Access in Northampton will sell cannabis to anyone over the age of 21.
It's been a transaction two years in the making.
Both NETA and Cultivate say they're expecting thousands of customers today. Traffic plans are in place. Extra supply is on hand. “Budtenders” will be at the ready.
“What a moment,” NETA’s Compliance Director Amanda Rositano said. “We are so excited to finally be here today. This is really about acknowledging that there is now a place for cannabis in our society and that place is no longer in the shadows.”
Rositano says NETA is prepared for the green rush. Cultivate says to expect a celebratory atmosphere, with heated tents, food and drink and music as customers wait to make their purchase.
More cannabis retailers are expected to come online in Massachusetts in the next few weeks.
State public safety officials are reminding residents that it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety says the message is simple: it's a crime to operate a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs, even though adult use of pot is now legal.
“One of the things we need people to understand is that if you feel different when you're driving, you are driving different as well and that doesn't matter whether it's alcohol, cannabis or some other drugs,” highway safety director Jeff Larason said.
Larason says the timing of the first pot sales works out well -- as extra police will be on the roads because of Thanksgiving, keeping an eye out for impaired drivers.