BOSTON, MA — Buying marijuana will soon be as simple as running to the local corner store for some Massachusetts residents. State authorities on Friday started the process of licensing retail marijuana stores — some of which could open as soon as July 1.
The new market will be sparse at the start. Most Bay State communities have banned retail marijuana stores through Town Meeting or municipal leadership votes. And new aspiring retailers must obtain local approval, which will likely take months.
Existing medical marijuana dispensaries are expected to be among the first to open to the general public in July.
The state’s Cannabis Control Commission said it is currently reviewing about 200 applications.
“We look forward to working with all licensees in the next phase of the process toward opening safe, equitable and effective marijuana establishments in our state,” commission Executive Director Shawn Collins said in a statement.