“I think there’s a lot going on here in trying to bring marijuana out of the shadows,” Mayor David Narkewicz said.
Massachusetts voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2016, though it wasn’t until today, November 20th, that the first retail pot shops actually opened. Massachusetts is the seventh state to legalize marijuana and the first to open shops on the East Coast of the United States.
When asked what he planned to do with his newly purchased legal weed, Narkewicz replied, “I am actually going to probably preserve it and display it…because it is historically significant.”
The two-year wait for legal marijuana shops in Massachusetts was primarily caused by bureaucratic caution and hesitant local communities. Sales were officially allowed to start July 1st, but at the time the Cannabis Control Commission — which regulates weed in the state — had yet to issue any licenses to retail outlets.
While the CCC has established a strict set of regulatory guidelines for testing and selling marijuana, as of this summer at least 190 communities in Massachusetts had slapped moratoriums or outright bans on marijuana retail stores within their jurisdictions. Despite this kind of resistance, Mayor Narkewicz suggested legalizing and regulating marijuana was an improvement from the black market.
“There has been marijuana use going on in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a long, long time,” he said. “What’s changing is it’s now being regulated. It’s now being tested. It’s now being strictly monitored. That’s really the major change that’s happening.”