Green Tuesday: Crowds line up at 1st U.S. East Coast pot shops
NETA co-founder Arnon Vered sells Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz the first legal recreational sale of marijuana at the NETA facility on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in Northampton, Mass. The state's first commercial pot shops opened Tuesday in Leicester and Northampton. (Don Treeger / The Republican via AP)
LEICESTER, Mass. -- People lined up in the rain Tuesday morning to be among the first customers at the first two legal pot shops on the U.S. East Coast, more than two years after Massachusetts voters approved of recreational marijuana for adults.
The state's first commercial pot shops opened in Leicester and Northampton.
Items for sale in the modern and spacious stores include various strains of marijuana flower, pre-rolled joints and edibles such as brownies and chocolate bars.
Cannabis is sold legally in six Western states.
The first customer at the Leicester store was Stephen Mandile, an Iraq War veteran who has been using medical marijuana to treat his post-traumatic stress, a traumatic brain injury and chronic pain.
Customers were shuttled to Cultivate, the Leicester store, from a remote parking lot about a mile away as police kept a visible but low-key presence outside. Customers perused offerings kept behind counters and under glass.
Kenny Boisvert, a 33-year-old Blackstone resident, was pleasantly surprised by his purchasing experience.
"It's a very nice place. It's way more than I expected," he said as he waited to pick up the flower and edibles he had bought. "My thoughts are if Massachusetts, one of the most liberal states in the country, opens up recreational shops, I can see the whole country doing it, just for the revenue."
The rollout of legal pot sales has been slow in Massachusetts, with regulators saying they wanted to make sure it was done safely and without some of the supply issues other states have faced.
The two shops received final clearance from regulators to open last Friday but were required to wait three days to co-ordinate traffic and other concerns.
Several more stores could open in the coming months.