Mayor David Narkewicz of Northampton, Massachusetts, said he'll be the first to purchase cannabis legally east of the Mississippi River when his city's pot store opens.
Non-medical marijuana will be legally available at a Northampton retail shop, New England Treatment Access.
Narkewicz said he plans to buy a chocolate bar when the store opens its doors to recreational consumers at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
"I do think that as a supporter — long-time supporter — both of legalization of medical marijuana, and as a supporter of adult-use marijuana, I think it sends an important message that I'd be the first person to make that purchase," Narkewicz said at a press conference at NETA. "There's obviously been a lot of stigma around marijuana in this country. Massachusetts has moved forward on it ... and Northampton has been a strong supporter of that."
Though he'll buy an edible, the mayor said he won't be consuming the THC-laden chocolate.
"Obviously it will be a historic artifact of tomorrow, so I won't be consuming it," Narkewicz said. "My plan, actually, will be to preserve it and display it because it will be a historic purchase."
Massachusetts will be the seventh state in the country to launch a regulated marijuana market for adults when NETA in Northampton, and Cultivate in Leicester, begin selling non-medical marijuana Tuesday morning.
Marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts as the result of a series of ballot initiatives beginning with the 2008 decriminalization of marijuana possession.
In 2012, voters approved a medical marijuana program and advocates returned to the ballot in 2016 to pass full adult legalization, with about 54 percent support.
NETA and the city of Northampton are expecting people to flock to NETA on Tuesday, though officials would not put a number on their expectations.
NETA officials said they are confident that they have ample supply to meet the expected demand. NETA purchases will be limited to one eighth of an ounce of marijuana flower to start — the statutory limit is one ounce — and said that at least 35 percent of inventory each day will be held aside for medical patients.
Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper said her department is prepared for the influx of visitors, and has been in touch with the State Police about the expected uptick in traffic on major highways leading to and from Northampton.
This report was originally published by State House News Service.