After years of preparation and debate, legal marijuana is now a reality in Massachusetts.
Any adult can walk into a store, pay cash and walk out with a joint, which they can smoke, legally, in their home.
But the roll-out of the first marijuana stores is only the beginning. In the coming year, marijuana entrepreneurs and regulators will face a host of challenges, from enabling small businesses to enter the market to writing regulations for marijuana cafes to figuring out how to address drugged driving.
Cannabis Control Commission Chairman Steven Hoffman said he does not anticipate a fully developed industry even by the end of 2019.
“We’re obviously going to have many more stores and many more types of establishments,” Hoffman said. “I think it will be a much bigger industry, but not yet mature and stable by the end of the year.”
The first state-sanctioned recreational marijuana stores opened in Northampton and Leicester on Nov. 20, two years after Massachusetts voters passed a ballot initiative legalizing recreational marijuana. Since then, the Cannabis Control Commission has been approving licenses at a steady pace. [Read more at Mass Live]