AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Just in time for graduation season, Amherst's first recreational marijuana shop opens this weekend.
The shop, Rise Amherst, is located on Meadow Street.
Even though they've been open for medical sales, many we spoke to say recreational sales in Amherst are long overdue.
The streets leading up to Rise Amherst are empty now, but it will be a different scene on Sunday when they begin selling recreational marijuana to people twenty-one and older.
That's welcoming news to Liam O'Connor, a student at UMass.
"I think it's great," O'Connor tells us. "I think there's a lot of people who smoke cannabis in the area, and, yeah, good that they're going to have now a shop in North Amherst."
Liam says he knows several people who already consume marijuana.
He says partly due to the shift in culture surrounding it.
"Now that it's legal," continued O'Connor. "I think people feel more comfortable about consuming it. It used to be that if you smoke weed you'd be outcasted."
Brianna Ardila anticipates them doing a lot of business.
"My friends smoke weed, and," stated Ardila. "It's weird, because now I feel like I can say that in front of a camera, and it used to be illegal, so it's definitely strange. They haven't really changed their habits. If anything, they go to dispensaries more often."
Ardila tells Western Mass News it's great that Amherst is now getting in on the revenue that recreational marijuana has generated for communities like Greenfield, Northampton and Easthampton.
"If it's legal now," says Ardila. "You may as well take advantage of it being a way to bring money in."
In a statement to Western Mass News, Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce says:
"We welcome this addition to their business and the increased tax revenue. It will contribute to Massachusetts and our neighborhoods."
"Northampton has had a shop for awhile, but," added O'Connor. "It's a long, complicated process, so I'm not surprised that it's taken this long, but I'm glad that it's finally happening."
The shop will open for recreational sales for adults twenty-one and older at 10 Sunday morning.