Entrepreneurs launching recreational marijuana businesses are taking major steps toward opening their doors to customers.
Meanwhile, local leaders and law enforcement are ensuring that those companies are taking the appropriate steps to ensure the welfare of the community.
This is uncharted territory for state leaders as progress is made toward issuing licenses, but as always, safety is chief concern.
Recreational marijuana retailers may soon be popping up across western Massachusetts.
INSA, a medical marijuana dispensary in Easthampton, is among the dozens of companies pioneering in the ‘adult use’ business.
They have a provisional license and a plan in the works to ensure that their facility sells responsibly.
Western Mass News has learned the procedure for customers will be to present their license to a camera outside the shop, and then get 'buzzed in' only if they are 21 plus.
"INSA has been a really great partner, but also respecting the concerns of the community. When we’ve reviewed their safety plans, both internal and external, and in the general area of their facility, they have gone above and beyond the minimum standard that we set," said Easthampton Mayor Nicole Lachapelle.
INSA isn’t the only one ready to stock shelves with recreational use marijuana. NETA in Northampton has also been given the green light.
Just this week the state launched a new push to curb drugged driving, and local police departments are on the lookout.
"One of the things we do is the same field sobriety testing we do for alcohol or any other type of drug," said Northampton Police Capt. John Cartledge.
Breathalyzers are common practice for detecting alcohol consumption, but it’s different for marijuana.
"There are additional tests that can be done with their consent, such as blood pressure testing. Some additional eye movement testing, and there is also urine analysis testing," Capt. Cartledge explained.
Drugged driving is a serious offense, and puts lives at risk.
"The same thing goes for any type of impairment. We would recommend getting a ride home with a friend, Uber, taxi, not get behind a wheel," Capt. Cartledge continued.
The most important message is that police will be on the lookout, because as the slogan goes, drive sober, or get pulled over.
The timeline for INSA opening its doors for recreational pot customers is still up in the air.
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