Legalized Recreational Marijuana Reaches the East Coast

Massachusetts made history in November, becoming the first state to allow legal, adult-use marijuana sales on the East Coast.

The state, where voters approved legalized recreational marijuana in November 2016, joins Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington in allowing adult use marijuana sales.

Both Vermont and Washington D.C. allow the use of recreational. marijuana, but it is not yet available for sale at dispensaries. Maine has also legalized recreational marijuana, but sales are not expected to begin until 2019.

East Coast Cannabis

Two dispensaries have opened in Massachusetts: New England Treatment Access (NETA) in Northampton and Cultivate Holdings in Leicester. The mayor of Northampton, an Air Force veteran, became the first customer at NETA.

The mayor bought a chocolate bar but has no plans to eat it. “My plan actually will be to preserve it and display it because it will be a historic purchase here in the city,” he told NBC News.

Long Road to Legalization

The start of East Coast cannabis sales in Massachusetts happened after a series of delays in granting dispensary licenses and contracting with labs that will test and verify the quality of cannabis sold in the state.

The two-year delay happened as Nevada and California, where voters also approved adult-use marijuana, got sales up and running quickly.

Voters in Massachusetts legalized medical marijuana in 2012. Both the dispensaries that began adult-use sales this month have been operating as medical marijuana dispensaries.

Under the new law, you must be at least 21 to purchase marijuana. Customers can buy only one ounce of marijuana or five grams of concentrate at a dispensary.

What’s on the Menu?

For the cannabis curious, it’s worth looking at what the two dispensaries had on the menu as they opened for the first time. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect to buy in Massachusetts, courtesy of the Boston Globe.

(Please note that dispensary menus can change just like any other menu).

The following were the options at NETA in Northampton.


You would have paid the following prices for flower:

  • One gram for $15
  • One-eighth ounce for $50
  • One-quarter ounce for $100
  • Half an ounce for $175
  • An ounce for $300

Choices included three different strains of sativa, a sativa hybrid (designed for daytime use), a pure hybrid, one strain of indica, and two indica hybrids. Generally speaking, sativa is considered more for relaxation while indica offers mood elevation, although different strains impact people in different ways.

You could also buy a single joint. Prices were $8 for a half-gram “mini joint”  and $15 for the one-gram “full-size.” Full-size joints also were available in the five-pack ($70) and 10-pack ($135) varieties.


NETA offers a variety of concentrates, including the following. All prices are for one gram.

  • Shatter ($60). Primarily used for vaporizing or dabbing, shatter is a brittle cannabis concentration in an amber, glass-like form.
  • Kief ($25). These resin-filled trichomes are typically sprinkled on flower to give it more potency.
  • Wax ($50). This soft concentrate contains much of the cannabinoids (CBD) and terpenes of the marijuana plant.
  • Distillate ($95), High potency cannabis oil


This is one of the fastest-growing areas in marijuana products, and you could tell from the NETA menu. The available edibles included citrus gummies, assorted fruit chews, chocolate bars, strawberry-flavored chewy bites, raspberry-flavored lozenges and caramel treats. Prices ranged from $10 to $80, depending on the product and amount.

NETA also offered oils, lotions and tinctures. Prices included $55 for eight ounces of lotion and $50 for 420 milligrams of oil.

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