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First Eastern Mass. Recreational Marijuana Store Gets OK To Open

The closest recreational marijuana store to Boston will open Saturday, after state regulators gave the final OK to Alternative Therapies Group in Salem.

ATG's opening will follow Cultivate in Leicester and New England Treatment Access in Northampton, both of which made the state's first, legal recreational sales on Nov. 20. Both shops allow walk-ins and have seen long lines as eager recreational consumers have come from all over to buy marijuana.

The two stores sold more than $2.2 million in cannabis flower and other marijuana products in a week, according to state figures.

Unlike Cultivate and NETA, ATG says it will require appointments for any recreational customers starting Saturday, though eventually they plan to serve walk-in customers. Registered medical patients can visit without an appointment.

ATG Executive Director Chris Edwards says management watched the openings of Cultivate and NETA closely, and decided that more densely populated Salem needed a different approach.

"The rollout of some of the dispensaries in the western part of the state has been somewhat problematic," he said. "No one here wants to have that same negative connotation.”

ATG was also appointment-only in 2015, when it became the first dispensary to open its doors to medical patients. It now serves an average of 200 medical marijuana patients a day.

Edwards says adult-use appointments will average about 80 customers an hour, and they expect to see 700 people a day buying recreational cannabis.

Free shuttles will be available from the Salem MBTA stop, as well as from a lot at 297 Bridge St. in Salem.

Purchases will be limited to a quarter-ounce of flower, lower than the ounce limit allowed by law. All purchases will be cash-only.

No stores in Boston have a provisional or final license from the Cannabis Control Commission yet, though NETA in Brookline has a provisional license and is awaiting a final license.

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Ally Jarmanning Twitter Digital Producer
Ally is a reporter who champions data and public records in the WBUR newsroom.

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