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NETA awaits state OK to begin retail pot sales

  • Master Kush indica flowers, center, and a variety of marijuana-infused products including Dose chocolate bars and nugget, Wishing Well tinctures and Upside capsules are displayed June 27, 2018 at New England Treatment Access, or NETA, in Northampton.



@BeraDunau
Thursday, July 19, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — This August, Northampton could become the first city in Massachusetts where recreational marijuana can be purchased legally.

New England Treatment Access, which operates a medical marijuana dispensary in Northampton and another in Brookline, says it has completed all the necessary steps for its application for a retail recreational marijuana license at its Northampton facility.

“All the state and local requirements have been completed,” Norton Arbelaez, NETA’s director of governmental affairs, said Wednesday.

However, he said, the Cannabis Control Commission is able to issue recreational marijuana licenses only after deliberating in a public meeting.

The commission’s next meeting is set for July 26. Arbelaez said he doesn’t know whether the Northampton license will be on the agenda.

“It’s all in the hands of the state right now,” he said.

Should NETA receive its retail license, Arbelaez said, it would be able to start selling marijuana immediately. That’s because the company has received guidance from the Department of Health that it can segregate some of the medical marijuana that has already undergone testing for recreational sale.

As for testing new recreational marijuana, Arbelaez said details are currently being worked out with the commission on harmonizing the testing procedures it has used for medical marijuana with the state’s requirements.

The lack of certified independent testing facilities for recreational marijuana has been a key factor in delaying the sale of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts.

Arbelaez said NETA has hired about 100 new people to prepare for adding recreational marijuana to its business. He also noted that an app that can allow people to reserve their marijuana ahead of time has just been launched on the medical side.

NETA is pursuing a recreational license in Brookline as well, and Arbelaez said that its application is only a little behind the Northampton one.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.