Boston's first medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors Wednesday, barely three months before state residents vote Nov. 8 on legalizing recreational use of the drug.
The dispensary at 21 Milk Street, is the seventh in the state and the second owned by Massachusetts provider Patriot Care, which plans to open a third location in Greenfield.
“Being the first dispensary permitted to open in the city of Boston is a privilege for every member of our local and national organization,” Nicholas Vita, the CEO of Patriot Care’s parent company, Columbia Care, said in a statement.
The dispensary is located inside an old bank building with a relatively nondescript entrance. Inside, patients will first interact with an armed guard who will verify they possess an active medical marijuana patient card.
From there, the patient meets with a receptionist, who confirms the customer hasn’t exceeded their monthly purchase limit.
After that, the patient is escorted into a waiting room and later the display room, where a salesperson accompanies them and tries to pair them with the kind of THC delivery mechanism that will best suit their needs.
According to a menu on the group’s website, there’s a lot: famous strains like Sour Kush and Northern Lights are also joined by newcomers like Amnesia CBD. All the strains are accompanied by ratings from the Leafly app, similar to a Yelp rating app for marijuana strains.
Edibles are also available in various strengths, along with accessories like rolling papers.
“Patients should treat marijuana for medical use products like they would any other medications that may impair the ability to perform complex tasks,” the website notes. “Avoid operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery, avoid child or elder care, and avoid making important decisions while under treatment.”
The dispensary is also featuring a “grand opening” sale, including up to 15 percent off of an ounce of marijuana.
Father Joe Quinn, who works at Saint Anthony’s Shrine in Downtown Crossing, told State House News Service that he was celebrating the fact he could now get his medicine only two blocks from his church.
"This is a blessing," Quinn said at the opening Tuesday. "Medical marijuana has dramatically changed and helped my life and the quality of it."
Patients were lined up outside the dispensary for the 1 p.m. opening, but were quickly served, leaving just some curious bystanders outside.
Bill Newsham, from Acton, said he worked right down the street from the location, and was curious to see what all the fuss was about.
“I think I’ve never seen a dispensary before in person, just kind of read about them or heard about them on the news,” he said. “To me, it’s almost like the official arrival of this. It’s something people voted on ... in Massachusetts back in 2012, and so it seems like it’s taken a long time for dispensaries to actually come about, and there’s been a lot of red tape.
“But the fact that one is right here, smack dab in the middle of downtown Boston, it’s probably the biggest splash any of them has ever made [in the state], because it’s right here in the business district,” he said.
State House News Service and photographer Derek Kouyoumjian contributed to this article.