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Brookline Marijuana Shop Is A Step Closer To Opening To All Adults

New England Treatment Access in Brookline is seen in this 2016 file photo. Located in a former branch of Brookline Bank, NETA, which has been a medical marijuana dispensary, will open up for retail sales soon. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
New England Treatment Access in Brookline is seen in this 2016 file photo. Located in a former branch of Brookline Bank, NETA, which has been a medical marijuana dispensary, will open up for retail sales soon. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

A Brookline marijuana store is a step closer to opening its doors to anyone over the age of 21.

The Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday issued a final license to the first recreational pot shop in the immediate Boston area. The New England Treatment Access, or NETA, store in Brookline is in the middle of the state's largest population cluster, just a quarter mile from the Boston city line.

Adult-use retail cannabis shops have slowly been opening up around the state since November, but have been located in less populated areas.

"They know it's a challenging location," commission Chair Steve Hoffman said soon after the panel voted to approve the license. "Right now I'm confident that between the town, the police department and NETA, that they're going to manage the traffic and crowd issues."

It's likely to be another four weeks or so before the NETA dispensary on Route 9 is open to all adults. The store has to get onto the state's seed-to-sale tracking system, and be subject to a final inspection before the commission issues a certificate to commence operations, which is the final OK needed before it can begin sales.

The Brookline dispensary has been open to medical marijuana patients since 2016.

In November, NETA's Northampton store was one of the first two retail shops that opened to adults in Massachusetts.

Another potential cannabis retail shop in Brookline dropped its Beacon Street proposal on Thursday. Ascend Massachusetts is led by former Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral.

Also on Thursday, the first solely woman-owned cannabis retailer in Massachusetts was given the go-ahead to open.

The Cannabis Control Commission issued a certificate to commence operations to Caroline's Cannabis in Uxbridge.

Owner Caroline Frankel says they are figuring out exactly when they will open.  Once issued a certificate to operate, a business must coordinate with municipal authorities to address traffic and crowd issues.

Most retail shops open within a week after receiving their certificate to commence operations.

With reporting by the WBUR Newsroom

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Steve Brown is a veteran broadcast journalist who serves as WBUR's State House reporter.

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