SALEM, Mass. (CBS) – Salem city councilor Josh Turiel was the ceremonial first customer as Massachusetts’ newest recreational marijuana shop opened for business on Saturday.

He hasn’t smoked marijuana since the late 1980s, but want wanted to celebrate the opening of Alternative Therapies Group, the first recreational pot shop in Eastern Massachusetts.

Salem city councilor Josh Turiel makes the first purchase at Alternative Therapies Group. (WBZ-TV)

There was a long line on opening day in Salem, but it wasn’t as bad as other stores that have opened in recent weeks. That’s because customers are required to make an appointment in advance to purchase.

Christopher Holland was at the front of the line to get in.

“I just wanted to make a legal purchase of marijuana,” he said. “I moved out here shortly before the vote. I voted yes to legalize marijuana in the state of Massachusetts and right now this is the reward for that.”

The line at Alternative Therapies Group in Salem. (WBZ-TV)

Alternative Therapies Group had already been operating in Salem as a medical marijuana facility. Staffers said making the first recreational sale was an exciting moment.

“I feel like it was part of history. It was a moment of history in this company,” employee Kate Nelson said.

Recreational marijuana shops are now open Northampton, Leicester and Salem, with a Wareham business opening soon.

Jim Smith

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