SALEM, Mass. — The third recreational marijuana store in the Commonwealth is officially open for business.
For those who booked an appointment for Saturday ahead of time, the experience was almost perfect.
For those who didn't, the not-so-great news - this opening wasn't first come first serve. If you showed up without a reservation, you were not allowed into the Alternative Therapies Group facility.
After Cultivate in Leicester and New England Treatment Access in Northampton raked in more than $7 million in sales, all eyes are on Alternative Therapies Group in Salem as the first adult use marijuana dispensary in the greater Boston area opens up this weekend.
On Friday evening, barriers were already set up along with traffic signs alerting residents of what will be happening on Saturday.
ATG's CEO says they've been paying close attention to how Cultivate and NETA have been operating and how they could come up with the best plan for a smooth opening.
As the first shop in the state to offer medicinal marijuana, ATG operated on an appointment-only basis during its opening to ease traffic concerns.
The dispensary booked about 600 appointments on its first day, allowing 20 customers in at a time.
"Then when you get inside you think it’s over and then there’s another line inside," said Dana Jackson, a customer.
For some it was a breeze, but others say they still had to wait about an hour.
"It’s nice because it was already medicinal so now it gives a chance for other people the average Joe Schmo to get some recreational weed," said Dylan Baker, a Salem resident. "I’m indifferent, I don’t think it will make a big impact since it’s reservation only so it’s not like there are going to be lines backing it up like other places.”
The next available appointment isn't until Christmas Eve.
The store also organized a shuttle service to bring crowds who ahd to park further away.
"There’s always lots of crowds and stuff in Salem, especially during the Halloween season so I don’t think it will be that different from what we are used to," said Paul Demakes, a Salem resident.
Recreational marijuana supporters say they're encouraged by the demand.
The state allows up to an ounce per customer, but ATG will be limiting customers to a quarter of an ounce, or 7 grams, for now. On their website, that much goes for $94.
While it is still deemed illegal by federal law, customers could only use cash.
Now, since legal marijuana is available at a closer reach to the city, some say they might give it a try.
"I know it helps medicinally for a lot of people like I’ve got aches and pains and knee problems so perhaps it could help me, I’m not sure," said Demakes.
Salem city councilor Josh Turiel was one of the first customers on Saturday. Turiel says he's excited about the new business for Salem.
"It’s something that as a city it’s going to provide us revenue it’s going to provide us some people coming to the city, and I really don’t see the issue," said Turiel.
Cox Media Group