marijuana is no more of a danger to society than alcohol.”
Massachusetts hopes to sidestep supply problems and other early pitfalls experienced in legal states, and most recently in Canada, where consumers endured rampant shortages after sales began last month.
California, which kicked off recreational sales on Jan. 1, remains in a challenging transition period as it attempts to transform what was once a largely vast, illegal market into a multibilliondollar, regulated economy.
Like Massachusetts, many areas of California have banned commercial pot activity. Initial tax collections have been well below projections, and a shaky supply chain has customers looking at barren shelves in some shops.
Washington state launched legal marijuana sales in mid-2014, shortly after Colorado, following a lengthy scramble to license growers, processors and stores, all of which had to contest a gantlet of regulations ranging from what pesticides they could use to local zoning rules. Only four stores opened on the first day of sales, with customers waiting in long lines to pay exorbitant prices for marijuana also in short supply.
Among the concerns as recreational sales begin in Massachusetts are those of medical marijuana patients.
A separate area inside the Northampton store will be reserved for customers registered in the state’s medical marijuana program, and they will not be forced to wait in the same lines with recreational customers to enter the building, Albaraez said.