After Long Wait, 1st Legal Pot Shops on East Coast to Open

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — A Massachusetts city with a youthful vibe and eclectic mix of culture is about to be home to the nation’s first legal recreational marijuana sellers east of Colorado.

An existing medical marijuana dispensary in Northampton is opening within days for anyone 21 or older looking for a range of cannabis-infused products.

A second store in the small town of Leicester (LEHS’-tuhr) may also open at or around the same time. Dozens of other retail applicants are awaiting final licensing approval from state regulators.

The initial openings will come two full years after Massachusetts residents backed marijuana legalization. The delays have frustrated would-be businesses and consumers alike.

New England Treatment Access, which operates the Northampton dispensary, anticipates long lines when the store opens and are working with city officials to avoid public safety issues.

Bob Salsberg, The Associated Press