Boston joined the growing list of cities that have marijuana dispensaries.
On Tuesday, Patriot Care in Boston opened its doors after many delays. Medical marijuana was approved in Massachusetts in 2012 after 63% of residents approved Ballot 3. With Patriot Care now open, Weedmaps, an online directory of marijuana dispensaries, lists 7 shops operating in Massachusetts. Many more were envisioned to open when Ballot 3 was initially approved.
Over 200 patients pre-registered with Patriot Care before their opening. The dispensary says it is prepared to handle up to 150 patients per day. Nicholas Vita, CEO of Patriot Care’s Parent Company, Columbia Care, is expecting the flow of patients to be manageable. “We don’t expect it to be overwhelming.” He said. It’s still a medically focused program so the patients we see all have their certification from physicians approved by the state.”
Patriot Care may prove to be a litmus test for other large northeast cities considering marijuana dispensaries. Legal marijuana often brings new revenue and jobs.
“We’re proud to be here,” said Robert Mayerson, an executive at Patriot Care. “We’re taking a space vacant for 10 years and bringing economic vitality back to it.”
The economic benefits linked to legal marijuana in Massachusetts may be poised grow significantly. Voters will have the opportunity to pass a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in November. Another state in the northeast, Maine, will also have residents casting ballots on recreational marijuana.
If all goes well in Boston could other large northeast cities such as New York and Philadelphia follow suit? Both states have already legalized a medical marijuana program. There has also been talk in Connecticut of lawmakers legalizing recreational marijuana use, though two separate bills have died during the legislative process. A recreational use bill suffered a similar fate in Vermont as well.
Other than Connecticut and Maine, residents from 6 other states will be voting on passing medical marijuana or recreational marijuana programs in November. It may just be a matter of time before other states in the northeast follow suit.