Customers waited in long lines, sometimes for hours, on a cold and rainy New England day to be among the first people to legally buy recreational marijuana on the East Coast, the AP reports. More than two years after Massachusetts voters approved of legalizing marijuana for adults, the state's first two fully licensed pot shops opened Tuesday in Leicester and Northampton, selling strains of the part of the plant that can be smoked; pre-rolled joints; and edibles such as brownies and chocolate bars. Marijuana is already sold legally in six Western states, but the long-awaited opening of recreational outlets in the East was hailed as major milestone for the cannabis industry in the US, with Massachusetts viewed as a potential $1.5 billion-a-year market.
A celebratory atmosphere ruled outside the shops, with buyers undaunted by the grim weather. Cheers went up when the stores opened at 8am sharp. There were no immediate reports of product shortages at the stores, something that has plagued the initial start of recreational pot sales in some other states. Massachusetts' top marijuana regulator said the crowds appeared orderly and praised operators for doing a thorough job of preparing for the first sales. The mayor of Northampton even bought what he said was a "symbolic" chocolate edible, NBC News reports: "My plan actually will be to preserve it and display it because it will be a historic purchase here in the city," he said. (Click for much more on the first day of sales, including ... "Potsquatch.")