Here’s a look inside one of the recreational marijuana dispensaries opening soon in Massachusetts

The Northampton store expects to begin adult-use sales the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

In this Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018 photo the New England Treatment Access medical cannabis dispensary is reflected in a puddle, in Northampton, Mass. Within days perhaps, the medical marijuana dispensary in Northampton expects to receive the final go-ahead to throw its doors open to anyone 21 or older who wants to purchase cannabis products ranging from flower to edibles, creams and even suppositories. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
The New England Treatment Access medical cannabis dispensary is reflected in a puddle in Northampton. –Steven Senne / AP

Update: The Cannabis Control Commission has authorized two dispensaries to begin recreational marijuana sales.

NETA plans to begin selling marijuana and marijuana-infused products to adults over the age of 21 on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Original post below:

It’s been two years in the making, but Massachusetts is on the verge of a historic milestone.

With “commence operations” notices recently issued for two marijuana labs, it’s likely only a matter of days before the state’s first recreational cannabis shop opens for business.

Two medical marijuana dispensaries — Cultivate in Leicester and New England Access Treatment, or NETA, in Northampton — became the first Bay State establishments to get their final retail licenses last month. However, the dispensaries can’t open until they get their inventory tested by the aforementioned labs and obtain “commence operations” notices from the Cannabis Control Commission.


“We have every indication that it will be before the Thanksgiving holiday,” Norton Arbelaez, the director for government affairs for NETA, told

The Boston Globe recently previewed the legal marijuana-buying experience at Cultivate. So here’s an inside look at NETA. As Arbelaez notes, visiting the dispensary is pretty much as far as it gets from buying the drug on the black market.

The exterior of NETA is seen from Conz Street in Northampton. —Michael Swensen for The Boston Globe
Tyler Mize, of Orange, speaks on a phone near the entryway to the dispensary. —Steven Senne / AP

The space inside NETA is divided between medical marijuana on the left and recreational-use sales on the right. And according to a document posted by the CCC, customers approach a podium upon entering the Conz Street store to “ensure proper guidance around the retail operation.”

For both medical and adult-use sales, NETA also offers an express line for customers who know what they want, as well as a “full service” option for those who might have questions about the different products or strains. They also offer private consultation rooms and (as required by state law) consumer education materials.

Prospective customers can also take an online virtual tour of the Northampton store.

Jake Moriarty, a patient service associate aka “Budtender,” poses for a portrait inside NETA. —Michael Swensen for The Boston Globe
Moriarty displays a line of cannabis products at the counter. —Michael Swensen / The Boston Globe
Savannah Stuitje, left, and Josh Hirst, right, stand at a counter featuring a display of vape dispensers last month. —Steven Senne / AP
Nelson Rivera III, left, sells medical cannabis products to a customer last month. —Steven Senne / AP

According to Arbelaez, NETA sells more than 130 different types of marijuana products, including flower, edibles, concentrates, waxes, cooking oils, and pre-rolled joints. Combined with their sleek, integrated interior aesthetic, he describes the experience as “a feel unto itself” — the shopping experience, that is.


“We’re there to create a warm, secure, welcoming environment,” Arbelaez said.

A humidity indicator rests in a bowl of a strain of marijuana called “Walker Kush” last month. —Steven Senne / AP
Gummies containing THC are also sold at NETA. —Michael Swensen for The Boston Globe
Cannabis-infused edible products at NETA. —Steven Senne / AP
THC capsules at NETA. —Michael Swensen for The Boston Globe
Moriarty displays a pack of five pre-rolled joints. —Michael Swensen / The Boston Globe