Massachusetts set to open first retail marijuana stores

The first recreational marijuana facilities may open “within weeks” in the Bay State, bringing to fruition the plan approved by voters in the 2016 election. “We’re getting really close but [there are things] that need to happen before the ‘commence operation’ certificates are issued,” said Steven Hoffman, chairman of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, the regulatory body tasked with regulating the growth and sale of recreational marijuana. As of November 1, there are 64 provision licenses and 12 final licenses for retail sale and recreational growth of marijuana plants. The original deadline for the opening of recreational marijuana retail stores was July 1, but it was announced shortly before that the Commission would not make the deadline. The rules for recreational sale and cultivation are stringent. A consumer over the age of 21 who is growing for recreational purposes can have up to six marijuana plants in their home. Consumers who elect to use marijuana for recreational purposes, are only permitted to have up to one ounce on their person and can expect to pay a tax of at least 17 percent. While smoking on private property with permission of the owner will now be legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is still illegal and smoking in public could warrant a $100 fine.