Leicester, MA’s Marijuana Dispensary is so Successful, Residents are Getting Angry

At a riled-up emergency meeting, neighbors complained of lines of people trapping cars in driveways.
Leicester, MA's Marijuana Dispensary is so Successful, Residents are Getting Angry

Massachusetts’ two legal recreational cannabis dispensaries have continued to attract long lines of customers one week after opening — and some neighbors are at their wit’s end. An emergency meeting was held on Monday night in the 11,000-person Worcester County town of Leicester to discuss how the Cultivate dispensary can better manage the epic crowds of eager cannabis consumers.

“It’s just much busier than we thought, which is great,” Leicester town administrator David Genereux told Channel 7 News Boston. “Certainly, the town benefits and we’re very happy to have Cultivate here.” Town officials told CBS News that they will be implementing additional emergency measures this weekend to keep local traffic navigable.

Last week two dispensaries, Cultivate and Northampton’s New England Treatment Access made history when they became the first Massachusetts retail outlets for recreational marijuana. On that first day, local police estimated that somewhere between 600 and 1,000 Cultivate customers were happy to wait in the winter temperatures to score everything from vape pens to edibles. The business knew it would be popular, even going so far as to set up an auxiliary parking lot, along with a shuttle service that would deposit customers at the newly expanded pot shop. Wait times of up to six hours have been reported at the location.

Apparently the measures that have been taken have not been enough to satisfy irked Leicester residents, who gathered for an oftentimes agitated emergency meeting Monday night to discuss their new neighbor and its excess of clientele. “We have cars outside our house seven days a week, 12 hours a day,” one woman was reported as saying. Another irritated Worchester County resident added that since the dispensary had opened, it was taking her a full 20 minutes to navigate the line of cars to leave her driveway.

For its part, the dispensary says it has an eye on how it is affecting the life of Leicester residents. “We are seeing an extended period of high volume sales at Cultivate,” said the company’s spokesperson Francy Wade. “While that is really exciting, the most important thing to us is that we are being good neighbors in the community.”

Not all of the town’s population saw the influx of cannabis clientele as a bad thing. “I’m not saying this is going to be a cure-all solution, but this is what a small town like Leicester needs,” said Monday night meeting attendee John Shoick. “The guy’s overly successful. You want to punish him for that. I’m sorry that’s just not the American way.”

Many are hoping traffic relief will come when more dispensaries are able to open to meet Massachusetts customers’ weed needs. That day could come soon — the state government has already approved final licenses for businesses in Salem, Easthampton, and Wareham.

Here’s hoping that the town works out a compromise while it waits for competition to enter the game, because the state’s industry has started out with strong support. During their first week of sales, Cultivate and NETA reported a total of $2.2 million in sales.

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