NEWTON, Mass. — It's business as usual at the Village Cafe in Newton. Even after a medical marijuana dispensary just a few doors down, Garden Remedies, got the green light to start selling recreationally last month.
Cafe owner Tony Mirogiannis says foot traffic in the area has been steady, but not overwhelming.
"Sometimes if they're early for their appointment, they might come in and get something to eat," said Mirogiannis, "You'd barely notice they're there, it's just another business."
Garden Remedies is part of the newest crop of stores rolling out each month that can now sell cannabis products to anyone over the age of 21.
According to the latest data from the Cannabis Control Commission, 179 applications have been submitted for recreational stores so far.
The communities with the highest number of applications are Worcester (9), Northampton (8), Pittsfield (7), Brockton (7) and Boston (7). That just means the proper paperwork has been filed with the state and doesn't guarantee a license.
So far only one recreational license has been initially denied: Ten-Ten LLC located in Sheffield.
We caught up with Janet Rosetti outside the store in Worcester, the first of potentially nine in the city. It was her first time buying marijuana at a retail store.
"Now that I've been, now I'd come back because of the service. They were wonderful," said Rosetti.
Two new shops opened over Independence Day weekend in Lee and Chicopee, making it 22 recreational shops now open for business in Massachusetts.
Three locations with final licenses are scheduled to open sometime this year in Ayer, Nantucket and Millbury.
The counties with the most recreational shops open are Middlesex (4), Worcester (4) and Berkshire (5).
Commissioner Steven Hoffman says they're starting to hit a groove when it comes to licensing. There are more than 40 provisional licenses still awaiting final approval.
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