Boston Business Journal

An Industry Grows: A Look Back at 4 Years of Recreational Cannabis in Mass.

There have been 77 dispensaries opened in the state since 2016

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Four years and 689 approved business licenses since voters elected to allow legal recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, the industry has come a long way. Here's a timeline of the major milestones in the industry over the past four years.

As of Oct. 9, a total of 689 licenses have been approved in Massachusetts, which includes 268 retail establishments. In total, the commission has received 904 completed applications to operate in over 160 municipalities. As of Oct. 10, 77 dispensary locations have commenced operations in the state.

The commission has created an entire regulatory market for a drug that was once illegal, and has stood up licensing, enforcement and marketing teams faster than many companies. But as the industry moves into its third year since sales actually began, work remains.

In the past two fiscal years which included recreational cannabis sales, ending in June 2020, the state has collected $122 million in taxes. That's far below expectations, due largely to the late start to the industry, coupled with shutdowns from coronavirus.

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