First recreational cannabis stores open in Massachusetts to big crowds

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Despite long lines and the uncertainty that comes with launching adult-use marijuana sales, the owners of the first two stores in Massachusetts permitted to sell recreational cannabis and their customers say sales and shopping experiences have gone smoothly.

Cultivate in Leicester and New England Treatment Access (NETA) in Northampton both opened at 8 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

Leicester Police Chief James Hurley told the Boston Herald that several hundred people had already been through Cultivate by lunchtime.

By noon, the wait in line outside the store – with wet weather – was approximately three hours, the newspaper reported.

Cultivate CEO Sam Barber told the Herald he does not expect his store to sell out of product Tuesday.

“We’re looking at limiting how much people are purchasing,” he said. “We’ve created a bit of a stockpile for this, and we’re always growing.

“It’s all hands on deck, and we’ll do the best we can.”

Barber also told his employees to take their time with customers, especially in terms of educating them about the products they are considering for purchase.

NETA employees, after making their first ceremonial sale to Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, made legal test purchases themselves before beginning sales to the general public, according to

In related news, a vocal marijuana foe in Congress, Joe Kennedy III, U.S. representative for Massachusetts, used an opinion piece published on Stat today to say he is now in favor of legalization of cannabis at the federal level.

“I believe we must implement strong, clear, and fair federal guidelines,” Kennedy wrote.

“To do that requires us to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and legalize it at the federal level.”