Massachusetts’ first day of legal cannabis sales resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars collected in cannabis sales revenue from the only two licensed dispensaries in the state.
Cultivate Holdings in Leicester and New England Treatment Access (NETA) in Northampton expected a large turnout and worked with local police to ensure a free flow of traffic near the businesses and organized sales. “We’re prepared for thousands,” said Sam Barber, the president of Cultivate Holdings the day before sales began. Thousands of people lined up to purchase an excess of 10,700 individual cannabis products that ranged from flower to edibles. The two dispensaries brought in an approximate total of $440,000 in sales on Nov. 11.
The state’s first legal purchase of an infused chocolate was made by Northampton’s Mayor David Narkewicz at New England Treatment Access. “I do think that as a supporter—long-time supporter—both of legalization of medical marijuana, and as a supporter of adult-use marijuana, I think it sends an important message that I’d be the first person to make that purchase,” Narkewicz said. Additionally, Amanda Rositano of NETA also stated her satisfaction with the historic event taking place at her dispensary. “I think this is such a historic moment where adults can finally purchase cannabis legally that I think there’s so much excitement around it,” she said. The trend has continued since then, with NETA seeing approximately 2,000 people a day.
Medical cannabis patients were not waiting in the same line as customers who were looking to purchase recreational cannabis. Since some patients require a dosage that exceeds the 5mg dosage limit, most edibles were only available for those with a medical cannabis card at Cultivate.
The state collects a 10.75 percent excise tax on cannabis along with the 6.25 sales tax. Both cities with dispensaries also collect a three percent local sales tax. Last week, two more dispensaries were given final approval by Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission, which had been criticized for its deliberately slow and cautious rollout of legal cannabis business licenses. Along with a previously approved third business, the two new approved businesses are expected to open soon.