Legal Weed Was Big Money In Massachusetts On Day 1 of Recreational Sales

There may have only been two dispensaries open on the first day of recreational cannabis sales in Massachusetts, but that shortage didn't cause a slump in sales.

Those retailers reaped $440,011 this week. That's more than some Canadian provinces made with much larger sales networks on their first day. Those sales mean that the state of Massachusetts is already raking in $74,800 in tax revenues.

But despite the impressive sales, some Boston-based entrepreneurs looking to get their slice of the pie are skeptical that the market will realize its full potential under the restrictions of the city's tight regulations. Boston has implemented zoning by-laws that prevent cannabis businesses from being located within a half-mile of one another. That rule could severely limit opportunities for growth, according to local entrepreneur Jonathan Napoli. 

"Right there, you just eliminated 80 percent of Boston or more," Napoli told Boston 25 News. "Let's say if I got a store here, then all of a sudden, I have a monopoly. I have a half-mile. I can almost lock down a whole neighborhood in Boston."

Napoli owns The Boston Gardener - a gardening supplies store - as well as The Hempest, which sells clothing and other goods made from hemp. He's also hoping to eventually receive a license to sell recreational cannabis in the city, but he admits that "the obstacles are insurmountable in some case."

"It's going to require some luck and some skill. But it's going to be a long shot for a lot of people."

As of yet, however, the state hasn't licensed any more recreational cannabis shops, so Napoli and other hopeful business owners may have to wait a while before things get moving for the recreational market. And if the state's track record of delays and missed deadlines continues, it might be an awful long time before the third recreational cannabis dispensary opens in Massachusetts.

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