The state of Massachusetts has been waiting a long time for legal cannabis sales to start, and two years after passing legalization as a ballot initiative, two dispensaries finally opened their doors last week. Unfortunately, the state has been slow in their application and licensing process, which means there are only two places in the entire state where people can go buy legal bud – but that certainly didn’t stop anyone from making the drive to do so.
In only five days, between two locations, the state has already reportedly sold $2.2 million worth of cannabis products. The numbers released by the Cannabis Control Commission on November 20th found that their gross sales totaled at $2,217,621 for a total of 56,380 units sold. Not unexpectedly, Friday was their most profitable day so far, with $480,000 in sales for that day alone – with the average purchase totaling around $39.33 dollars.
Located in Northampton and Leicester, these two dispensaries are supplying a lot of people – between the newly legal sales to adults, on top of their usual medical cannabis sales. However, this has caused an unforeseen issue for those living near the dispensaries as traffic has been awful, with their streets appearing more like a parking lot than a road.
“This has been terrible,” Dawn Gauthier, a Leicester resident, testified at the meeting. “We have cars outside of our house seven days a week, 12 hours a day. We have no life there anymore. It’s like living in a fishbowl. . . . It’s not fair.”
Luckily, this issue was addressed rather quickly, all things considered, with the addition of 70 nearby parking spaces – on top of the 100 that were already available – as well as a police officer to direct traffic and keep things flowing.
“It’s not perfect, but it’s much better in my opinion,” Hurley said. “And with the opening of the new additional spots we’re able to handle the traffic coming in so it hasn’t backed up to Route 9 yet. When the residents got up this morning, there weren’t cars in front of their house and blocking their driveways,” Hurley said. “That to me was important.”
The other good news for these residents is that soon these two locations will not be the only ones where people can go legally buy their cannabis products. The Cannabis Control Commission has issued final licenses to three additional recreational cannabis stores, one each in Salem, Wareham and Easthampton – all of which are hoping to open as soon as possible.
It may have taken a long time to get things rolling, and the first few days, while extremely lucrative, were not without their hiccups. But Massachusetts is finally making the legalization plan that voters approved in 2016 a reality.