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Massachusetts to start selling recreational marijuana

Friday, November 16, 2018

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NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Massachusetts is joining the growing list of US states where Americans can walk into a shop and legally buy recreational marijuana, with two stores due to open next Tuesday.

The Cannabis Control Commission issued notices Friday for two outlets to start selling to adults legally without a prescription in three days. The stores will operate in Leicester and Northampton, both west of Boston.

"There probably will be a big crowd," said an employee at the Northampton dispensary, which already sells medical marijuana to those with a prescription, and who answered the telephone to AFP.

"I'd recommend you wait till after Thanksgiving," he added of the upcoming US family holiday celebrated next Thursday.

According to the law passed by Massachusetts, marijuana cannot be consumed while driving nor in public places. Adults aged 21 or over get up to one ounce (28.5 grams) of cannabis or five grams of marijuana concentrate.

The US federal capital Washington and 10 states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — have legalised marijuana for recreational use.

Most other states allow for limited use of medical marijuana.

It remains outlawed at the federal level. The two stores in Massachusetts will be the first on the US East Coast able to sell marijuana for recreational use.

"Licensees underwent thorough background checks, passed multiple inspections and had their products tested, all to ensure public health and safety," said Steven Hoffman, chairman of the Cannabis Control Commission in Massachusetts.

"As patrons look forward to visiting Massachusetts stores, we hope they will do their part by first familiarizing themselves with the law and understanding what is required of responsible consumers," he added.

Last month, Canada became the world's first major economy to fully legalise cannabis, making good on a 2015 campaign promise by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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