Massachusetts mayor first in line as recreational marijuana sales begin

Massachusetts became the first state on the East Coast Tuesday to allow recreational marijuana sales, meaning tens of millions of adult consumers, including those in New York City, are now within a three-hour drive from a pot shop.

CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil reports from Northampton, Massachusetts, where one of two stores opening in the state is located and where David Narkewicz will welcome legal recreational marijuana as both the ceremonial first customer and the town's mayor.

"I think there's a lot going on here in trying to bring marijuana out of the shadows," Narkewicz said.


Massachusetts: Shops to start selling recreational marijuana on Tuesday

Pot shops will start selling recreational marijuana in Massachusetts on Tuesday.

The Cannabis Control Commission announced Friday that retail Cultivate Holdings of Leicester and New England Treatment Access of Northhampton can begin selling recreational marijuana and marijuana products. It will be the nation’s first legal recreational marijuana sales east of Colorado.

“This signal to open retail marijuana establishments marks a major milestone for voters who approved legal, adult-use cannabis in our state,” Commission Chairman Steven J. Hoffman said in a statement.


Here are the nearly 100 companies seeking Massachusetts retail marijuana licenses -- and where they want to locate

Nearly 100 different companies are at various stages of the application process in seeking licenses to open recreational marijuana businesses in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission's website lists the status of 12 licenses as "Final License Issued." But in truth, the approval process for them continues, such as with laboratory testing to ensure the products are safe to ingest, and no recreational marijuana businesses have opened.

State officials, though, insist that the opening day is close for the first business selling marijuana for recreational use. The first might be New England Treatment Access LLC (NETA) in Northampton or Cultivate Holdings LLC Leicester in Worcester County.


Massachusetts: First marijuana retail shops are finally opening; Here's what you should know

Retail stores that sell recreational marijuana are anticipated to open in Massachusetts. More than two years after Bay State voters approved a ballot question broadly legalizing recreational marijuana, state regulators have provided final sign-offs to the stores, and all that's left is the "commence operations" notice.

The specific opening dates are still unclear. It's a milestone for a new industry, as well as a state that once put a captain in the public stocks for kissing his wife on a Sunday. Now Massachusetts has legalized recreational and medical marijuana, and built a resort casino in the western part of the state and a slots parlor on the state border with Rhode Island. Sports betting is a possibility if state lawmakers decided to move ahead next year.


Massachusetts: Marijuana sales likely days away after regulators OK labs

Recreational marijuana sales in Massachusetts are likely just days away, after state regulators said they had cleared two licensed cannabis testing laboratories to officially begin operations.

Two labs — CDX Analytics in Salem and MCR Labs in Framingham — were issued “commence full operations” notices by the Cannabis Control Commission on Wednesday.

Both labs received final licenses from the agency in mid-October but had to pass a final inspection and clear other minor regulatory hurdles before getting the official go-ahead to begin testing recreational pot for purity and potency.

The move is a critical step toward the state’s first recreational sales, since retail pot shops can only sell products that have been tested by a licensed lab.


Massachusetts: Clearer picture develops of where cannabis businesses will operate

While the question of when cannabis retail businesses will open in Massachusetts remains unanswered, where those businesses will operate is becoming clearer.

Cannabis companies — which include retail, cultivation, product manufacturing, testing, transport and research — have been proposed in 58 Bay State communities, from Nantucket to western Massachusetts.


Massachusetts: Cannabis firm plans million-dollar renovation in downtown Springfield

The CEO of a cannabis firm said he "fell in love with" a historic building in downtown Springfield, and promised a "complete renovation" of the former Hampden Bank headquarters if his company gains approval to open a recreational marijuana dispensary.

Chris Mitchem, leader and co-founder of the Oregon-based Diem Cannabis, on Saturday described plans to "put a million bucks" into the 1665 Main St. building, built in 1918 and located across the street from the Paramount Theater.

"It will look like the original Hampden Savings Bank," Mitchem said. "We got 100-year-old blueprints from the city, and are in the process of digitizing them." The building was a law office for five decades before closing in recent years.


Massachusetts: Are cannabis jobs risky business?

As the recreational cannabis industry gears up, it’s easy to see why people throughout the state might be excited at the prospect of working in the industry.

For these job-seekers, there is no shortage of opportunities. According to employment site, marijuana job postings across the country increased 693 percent from the last quarter of 2016 to last quarter 2017.

It’s exciting, I get it. I vividly remember the curious intoxication which flooded my veins the moment I walked inside a commercial-sized cannabis grow facility. But committing to a position in an industry still under a cloud of stigma may affect your future than many cannabis industry employers let on.


Sellers, growers not alone in marijuana business

Pot shops and cannabis cafes may one day become the face of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, but ancillary businesses -- those working behind the scenes -- are lining up today to try and capitalize off the budding industry.

The evidence was on full display Oct. 19 at the second Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Dozens of businesses from across the state, country and globe convened to trade ideas, create partnerships and celebrate the fast-growing medical and recreational market.


Massachusetts: Use money from marijuana sales to fund after-school programs, council suggests

Almost 8,000 low-income students in Massachusetts are on a waiting list for after-school and summer learning, according to a new report that recommends tapping the anticipated revenue from marijuana sales to fund such programs.

The Legislature's Afterschool and Out-of-School Time Coordinating Council, in a report slated for release Tuesday, said children who attend high quality after-school programs get better grades, have fewer behavioral issues and have higher graduation rates, but for every child in such a program, two are waiting to get in.


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