BOSTON — New England may still be the next U.S. frontier for legal cannabis; just don’t try shopping for it quite yet.
After early successes for the cannabis industry in western states, the region seemed the next logical foothold. But while its famous independent streak, liberal politics and ample supply of college activism all made for fertile ground, the legalization movement has often collided with old-fashioned Yankee sensibilities – particularly in towns weary of the stigma around pot.
“While a lot of these communities voted for (legalization), they didn’t really mean ‘down the street from my house.’ It was more like, ‘Can we have it in the next town over?”‘ said Jim Smith, a Boston attorney who works with companies seeking commercial licenses in Massachusetts. “The reality is that the next town over also wants it in the next town over.”
In Massachusetts, where voters approved of recreational marijuana in November 2016, Sunday is when retail sales are allowed to finally start. But no pot stores have been licensed yet, and only a few may open for business in the