The “experiment” is over. It is abundantly clear that the benefits of legalization far, far outweigh any drawbacks. See many related articles under Marijuana. We do need more research, which now is not possible because researchers at hospitals, universities, and other organizations are afraid of the asinine federal law making possession of pot a crime.
Legal sales of pot will top $1 BILLION this year, and Massachusetts alone is expected to see $700,000 in sales next year!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Bay State made history Tuesday with the launch of the first recreational marijuana stores on the East Coast — more than two years after voters decided to legalize non-medical cannabis. Medical marijuana facilities Cultivate Holdings, in Leicester, and New England Treatment Access (NETA), in Northampton, opened their doors at 8 a.m. to kick off the state’s first legal recreational marijuana sales to people over the age of 21.
“I’m proud that Northampton is playing a role in this historic day ending some 80 years of prohibition here in the commonwealth of Massachusetts and moving into a new modern era where we have safe, tested, well-regulated adult use of marijuana and cannabis,” he said, to more cheers.
Leicester Police Chief Jim Hurley told NBC News Tuesday afternoon that officials “saw a much larger crowd than we had anticipated” at Cultivate.
A spokesperson for NETA said Tuesday afternoon that about a thousand purchases had been made at the business so far. Amanda Rositano, NETA’s director of organizational compliance, said at the Monday news conference with the mayor that the business was still prioritizing its medical marijuana patients amid the recreational sales and would be working to inform customers about marijuana use as well as the rules and regulations for consumption.
Mitch Rosenfield, owner of nearby store The Hempest, which sells hemp, cannabidiol/CBD products and smoking accessories, said he welcomed the move.
“Being the first state on the East Coast to do this, I think we’ll see a lot of people from New York, from all over the Northeast who want to check what this is all about,” he said.
Rosenfield said he was glad the state took the time to get things right but noted a few things may have been overthought and “we’ve missed out on a lot of tax revenue” with the delay.
“It’s supposed to bring a lot of new people in Northampton maybe people who haven’t been here before so we’re looking to seeing some new faces in our shop,” she said.
Steven Hoffman, the chairman of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, told NBC News it had been a “pretty intense” and “nonstop” process to get to this point since the commission was appointed in September 2017. “I think the biggest challenge is just trying to get it right there’s no road map here, plus this is a very controversial issue,” he said.
Hoffman added the commission were working to “balance the will of the voters in terms of accessibility, with public health and public safety issues.” “It’s not going to be in every city and town in the state, it’s not gonna be on every street corner, but it’s going to be accessible,” he said.
Hoffman said Massachusetts “benefited enormously” from the lessons learned by the states who legalized recreational marijuana before, but that all states were different in demographics and laws.
In Massachusetts, pot shops will be limited in how much they can sell in a single purchase — one ounce of flower or five grams of concentrate — and both public consumption and driving under the influence of marijuana are still illegal.
Sam Barber, president of Cultivate, said the store would be following those amount regulations for its opening day and it could not make any guarantees on how long its supplies would last. Meanwhile, NETA has set its initial purchase limit at an eighth-ounce of flower per customer.
Hoffman said one thing he believed set Massachusetts’ law apart was strict requirements for diversity “not just in terms of employment in the industry but in terms of equity ownership.” That also includes a requirement to “help those communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the previous war on drugs to make sure they’re full participants,” he added.
Britte McBride, the commissioner of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, told NBC News that while the industry would be expanding, the state required a multi-step application process which included stringent background checks and inspections to ensure new business would be compliant with the law.