MA says first recreational cannabis stores in eastern US can open Tuesday

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Two marijuana stores in Massachusetts were given the green light to begin selling to recreational customers on Tuesday, making them the first commercial cannabis stores in the eastern United States.

The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) announced Friday that New England Treatment Access, in Northampton, and Cultivate Holdings, of Leicester, were authorized to open in three calendar days.

Both the Northampton and Leicester stores plan to open at 8 a.m. ET Tuesday.

The “commence operations” notice from regulators required the stores to wait three days before opening so they can coordinate with local officials and law enforcement.

The announcement ends a long wait for commercial adult-use sales to begin in Massachusetts.

The state’s voters legalized adult use of recreational marijuana in 2016, but it’s taken more than two years for legislators and regulators to reach the point where the first stores can finally open.

The target date for retail sales had been July 1.

The openings are expected to draw big crowds, based on the experiences of other legal U.S. states and Canada when they first launched recreational sales.

“To get here, licensees underwent thorough background checks, passed multiple inspections and had their products tested, all to ensure public health and safety as this new industry gets up and running,” CCC chair Steven Hoffman said in a statement.

– Associated Press