The first recreational pot shop in the Greater Boston area will soon open after getting the green light from state regulators.
New England Treatment Access, whose dispensary in Northampton, Massachusetts, was one of the first two to sell marijuana products to recreational customers in the eastern U.S., has received final approval for adult-use sales at its Brookline medical marijuana location.
"We want to thank the Cannabis Control Commission for approving the final license for adult-use retail sales at NETA's Brookine dispensary," the company said in a statement. "We now look forward to working with the CCC in the coming days to obtain a Commence Operations Certificate. When that process is complete, we will be pleased to announce an opening date for adult-use sales in Brookline."
Recreational sales have begun at 10 shops in Massachusetts, with six others having received final licenses from the state. Of those 16 locations, only Brookline is in the immediate vicinity of Boston.
The store is located on Route 9, under half a mile west of the Boston line, at the busy intersection with Washington Street. Medical marijuana customers have been visiting the location since 2016.
NETA dealt with large crowds in the weeks after beginning recreational sales in Northampton, and it has an online order reservation system. Still, the proximity to the city has officials preparing for traffic. NETA has agreed to open on a Saturday, as Brookline officials requested, in order to give police time to work out any issues that may arise before the work week.
"When surrounding traffic is down, we can test it out and hopefully, the curiosity will die down a bit before teh week comes," said Neil Wishinsky, chair of Brookline's select board.
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Wishinsky said they will also provide more police officers and have crowds line up on Washington Street instead of Route 9. NETA is arranging offsite parking at a few locations, including the nearby Homewood Suites. They are urging customers to take public transportation if possible.
Eric Haas, who works at the Early Music Shop of New England down the street, said he already has issues with traffic due to the medical customers and he is not looking forward to more.
"The staff at NETA keeps coming down and chasing people away because they park in front of the driveway," Haas said. "I'm not really thrilled about the idea of thousands of people showing up."
A spokesman for NETA said an announcement about the opening should be made in the next two to four weeks. Town officials in Brookline also plan to send out a notice to residents.