BOSTON — Massachusetts recreational marijuana sales are approaching $3 billion, three-and-a-half years after the first pot shop opened its doors.
Retailers reported $2.87 billion in sales between Nov. 5, 2018 and Apr. 10, 2022, according to data from the Cannabis Control Commission. As of March 28, Massachusetts approved 887 marijuana establishment licenses and 109 applications are pending, state data shows.
“I think as we educate the population about the different varieties of cannabis…I think the customer pool is going to grow,” Yamba Market owner Sean Hope said.
Yamba Market opened its doors last week and is the first recreational marijuana dispensary in Cambridge. To celebrate 4/20, Hope and his co-owner organized a block party on Pearl Street featuring Doug E. Fresh and other musical artists.
“For so long it was illegal. Many of us would hide in the closet or feel like we had to hide from our parents, so this is now like a reunion for a lot of us,” Hope said. “Cambridge has taken a bold step by allowing us to have this public even ‐ so I really think this is a celebration for not just Yamba but the whole industry.”
Tax revenue from marijuana sales has far exceeded expectations. Massachusetts netted $112,370,000 in 2021 from the marijuana excise tax, more than double the projected number, the CCC said. Hope said the industry is focusing on becoming more consumer-friendly.
“You go into an Apple store, they do things that say, ‘What does a customer want?’ I think [the industry] is going to become more customer-centric. I think delivery is going to be there, and I think you’re going to have more neighborhood retail,” Hope said.
One of the attendees at the 4/20 celebration was 92-year-old Cambridge resident Florence Ramsey. Ramsey doesn’t like the smell of marijuana but loves to watch live music.
“I wish I liked it because I would really have a good time with it myself,” Ramsey said. “If it brings some happy times I’m all for it.”
Others like New York resident Mario Mejia relished how far the marijuana culture has come in a decade.
“It’s amazing. We used to get arrested for smoking weed before. Now it’s different,” Mejia said.
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