Recreational marijuana will be available in the Berkshires for the first time Friday. While many consumers are excited, some medical professionals are urging caution.
“We are prepared to do big business,” said Teva Smith, dispensary manager at Theory Wellness.
When the shop opens its doors Friday, it will become the sixth store in Massachusetts to sell marijuana for recreational use.
“We have coordinated with local authorities and neighbors, and secured over 100 additional parking spaces,” Smith said.
When the state’s first shops offering recreational marijuana opened in November, it prompted long lines and traffic jams. Smith says the staff is expecting a similar rush and even better, they are ready for it.
But among the hype, there is opposition.
“Just because something grows from the earth doesn’t make it healthy,” said Dr. Jennifer Michaels.
Michaels works for the Brien Center, a non-profit serving people with behavioral health disorders. They are concerned with the impact of easy access on people with psychiatric illnesses.
“[Marijuana users] may be at risk for recurrence or reactivation of their psychiatric illness whether it is depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. So we worry about people who are maybe taking psychiatric meds or are in therapy, engaging in regular marijuana use,” Michaels said.
Recreational marijuana is not supported by everyone but Theory Wellness believes by being good neighbors and contributing to the town’s tax base, over time perceptions of recreational marijuana use will change.
“Being able to put $200,000 to $300,000 of tax revenue back into the community to help rebuild roads, help with the schools.”
Theory Wellness will continue to serve medical users and managers say about a third of their inventory will be set aside for patients.
While marijuana is legal for recreational use in Massachusetts, it is not legal in New York.