On Massachusetts' first 'canna-versary,' still no Boston stores

On Massachusetts' first 'canna-versary,' still no Boston stores

BOSTON — It has been one year since the first adult-use cannabis stores opened in Massachusetts, marking the first legal sales of the drug on the east coast.

On November 20, 2018, the first stores opened in Northampton and Leicester, beginning a frenzy of sales that would see long lines and wait times for weeks.

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The initial openings come two full years after Massachusetts residents backed legalization, a vote hailed by a burgeoning cannabis industry eager to expand its geographic base beyond the several western U.S. states where recreational marijuana is sold.

Officials in many communities, including somewhere a majority of voters had approved legal recreational marijuana, kept pot shops away through moratoriums or zoning restrictions, or by demanding a steep price from cannabis businesses in exchange for signing host community agreements.

In the year since sales began, there still isn't a shop open in Boston proper -- with the nearest retail store being New England Treatment Access in Brookline. That store has seen high traffic and long wait times, with neighbors complaining of parking woes and traffic congestion.