Recreational Pot Rolls Out 'Smoothly' On First Day In Brookline

NETA opened its recreational cannabis shop in Brookline on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (Courtesy Atwater Studios)
NETA opened its recreational cannabis shop in Brookline on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (Courtesy Atwater Studios)

Despite the weed dust settling on the novelty of legal recreational pot in Massachusetts months ago, Saturday was a historic moment for Mike Lutkevich.

He's been using marijuana, non-medicinally, for about 45 years. NETA (New England Treatment Access) in Brookline has been offering medicinal cannabis for over two years, but it's now offering recreational cannabis products, allowing Lutkevich to buy pot legally for the first time.

Around Thanksgiving, the Woburn resident said he and his wife tried to go to another dispensary, but the line was so long they "couldn't get near the place." Saturday was different, though. He waited only about 40 minutes.

With NETA's menu in hand and the dispensary's doors a stone's throw away, Lutkevich entertained the idea of edibles. But he's more of a traditionalist.

"I'm just looking to get high." Lutkevich said, smiling, as he inched closer to the NETA's doors. "Sometimes it's good to have a doobie when you get home from work."

The breezy wait times Saturday can probably be attributed to a confluence of variables: the nearest T stop to NETA is undergoing track and signal updates; the New England Cannabis Convention is happening in downtown Boston; and NETA allows people to go online and make a purchase ahead of their visit.

"We couldn't have asked for a better roll-out day," said Amanda Rositano, NETA's director of operational compliance. "People are happy, the sun's shining. We feel good. It's been going really smoothly."

At a press conference on Friday, Rositano predicted a similar turnout to their Northampton location back in November.

"We saw over a couple of thousand out in Northampton for our opening, and we think it will be at least that many," she said. "We are the first in the greater Boston area, here in Brookline village, so I think there will be large crowds, and we're prepared for that."

Rositano wouldn't say whether or not Saturday's turnout fell below expectations.

"It's still pretty early. As we saw in Northampton, that line continued to build as the day got later," Rositano said. "It's a little early to predict at this point."

Josh Delillo lives within walking distance and said he's "elated" to have a shop so close to home.

"This is probably going to be my go-to place," Delillo said. "You know, every month I wait for chicken sandwiches at the restaurant down the street. This is pretty much the same thing."

He picked up some edibles Saturday at NETA to "round out" his "collection."


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Quincy Walters Producer, WBUR Podcasts
Quincy Walters was a producer for WBUR Podcasts.



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