The lamp is lit
Cannabis commission gives go-ahead for retail pot sales starting Tuesday
MORE THAN TWO years after voters approved legal recreational marijuana sales and use, the doors of the first retail outlets east of the Mississippi will finally swing open on Tuesday just in time for the long Thanksgiving weekend.
Cultivate in Leicester and New England Treatment Access in Northampton were given the green light Friday by the Cannabis Control Commission to begin operations. The notice came with a caveat for the expected crowds and the rush to get a rush.
The New England Treatment Access website indicates the firm’s medical customers currently pay $15 for a gram, $50 for an eighth of an ounce, and $300 for an ounce. It’s unclear what the retail prices will be on Tuesday, but retail prices will also include a 20 percent tax.
“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. “As patrons look forward to visiting Massachusetts stores, we hope they will do their part by first familiarizing themselves with the law and understanding what is required of responsible consumers.”
The two stores, both of which had been operating medical marijuana dispensaries, had been granted provisional licenses in the summer but had to go through extensive background checks and on-site inspections. Because testing labs were only recently certified to open and no cultivation or manufacturing operation has yet begun, the stores will be selling part of their medical inventory under a waiver from the Department of Public Health.Those seeking medical marijuana specifically are still required to have a certification card from DPH and while the retail stores will be co-located with the medical marijuana dispensaries, those without patient cards cannot enter the medical side.
The cannabis commission also warned users that while marijuana is legal, there are still restrictions to adhere to, such as:
- It is illegal to use marijuana while operating a vehicle.
- Like alcohol, consumers cannot have an open container of marijuana or marijuana products in the passenger area of a car while on the road or at a place where the public has access.
- Consuming marijuana or marijuana products in a public place is prohibited, as is smoking marijuana in any area where smoking tobacco is prohibited.
- Per transaction, a retailer cannot sell more than one ounce of marijuana or five grams of marijuana concentrate – which are also the possession limits in Massachusetts – to an individual who is age 21 or older.
- It is unlawful to carry marijuana or marijuana products across state lines or federal borders.
- The impairment effects of edible marijuana may be delayed by two hours or more. Start low, go slow.