No doubt about it, 2018 wasn’t the best year. However, it was pretty cool to see Massachusetts finally open its first recreational marijuana dispensaries, and those developments are giving us some hope for even brighter horizons in 2019. Here are some recreational marijuana 2019 developments to keep a watch for in the new year.
Recreational marijuana 2019: What to look out for
Recreational marijuana 2019: Will Boston finally get its first recreational marijuana dispensary?
Unfortunately, like all predictions surrounding the opening of dispensaries in Massachusetts, it’s nearly impossible to pin down. That said, the spat of openings outside of the city last year point to some hope that locals can finally buy their recreational weed in Boston proper.
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Eight different applications have been submitted for dispensaries in Suffolk County, according to the most recently available data on the Cannabis Control Commission website (from December 2018). Some proposed locations include Seaport, Mattapan, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, East Boston and downtown Boston.
Recreational marijuana 2019: So what is for sure opening this year?
The good news is that more dispensaries received their final licenses from state regulators toward the end of last year, and should almost certainly open in early 2019. Theory Wellness in Great Barrington, Northeast Alternatives in Fall River, and Temescal Wellness (with two locations in Hudson and Pittsfield) should be serving their communities very soon.
Recreational marijuana 2019: What about outside of Massachusetts?
Fear not, non-Bay State New Englanders. Things are looking up for recreational marijuana in neighboring states, too.
Voters in Maine approved recreational marijuana in 2016 — just like Massachusetts — though the opening of shops has been long-stalled by Republican Gov. Paul LePage. Now, with a new Democratic administration, some lawmakers are promising that Maine could see pot shops as early as this year.
Newly inaugurated Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said that legalizing recreational marijuana in his state was a “top priority” for his new administration. Lawmakers in New Hampshire voted to legalize recreational marijuana in their state, though a veto threat from its Republican governor has put those plans on hold, at least temporarily.
Lawmakers in Rhode Island have also expressed an interest in making similar moves for their state, though they remain in the early stages. While Vermont also made possession of marijuana legal in 2016, state lawmakers are still struggling to craft a bill that would allow for a retail market in the state.
There are also positive signs that New York and New Jersey might take the step toward legalization as well in 2019. Seven other states have legalized recreational marijuana: Alaska, California, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.