BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Pot shops will start selling recreational marijuana in Massachusetts on Tuesday.
The Cannabis Control Commission announced Friday that retail Cultivate Holdings of Leicester and New England Treatment Access of Northhampton can begin selling recreational marijuana and marijuana products. It will be the nation’s first legal recreational marijuana sales east of Colorado.
“This signal to open retail marijuana establishments marks a major milestone for voters who approved legal, adult-use cannabis in our state,” Commission Chairman Steven J. Hoffman said in a statement.
Massachusetts voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016. The state is projected to see sales of at least $1.8 billion and as high as $5 billion annually, industry leaders predict.
The road to legal sales has been a long and tedious one. The original target date of Jan. 1, 2018, was almost immediately pushed back six months by the Legislature, Then the July 1 date came, and went and still no stores were cleared to open. Frustration grew among would-be businesses and consumers alike.
But the Northampton location said in a statement Friday it’s excited to get started.
“We will be thrilled to be part of this milestone for Massachusetts when NETA Northampton opens its doors to adults 21-years and older offering legal, safe, regulated cannabis,” NETA director of government affairs Norton Arbelaez said in a statement.
NETA already dispenses medical marijuana but will now be offering products rangings from pre-rolled joints to cannabis-infused edibles, creams, lotions and cooking oils.
A separate area inside the Northampton store will be reserved for customers registered in the state’s medical marijuana program, and they will not be forced to wait in the same lines with recreational customers to enter the building.
Cultive CEO Sam Barber said the organization is “honored” to be making history Tuesday.
“We look forward to selling the highest quality cannabis to consumers and simultaneously be educating the public about how to responsibly enjoy our products,” he said in a statement. “We have created dozens of jobs and look forward to creating revenue and contributing positively to state and local region in which we operate.”
New England Treatment Access in Northampton plans to open at 8 a.m. and Cultivate will also start sales at 8 a.m.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)