People line up outside NETA in Brookline. (Mario Jarjour/WBZ NewsRadio)
BROOKLINE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Operators of New England Treatment Access, which is being called one of the busiest recreational marijuana dispensaries in the country, say they're trying to be good neighbors—but those who live and work in the area say they have concerns about the booming business.
Brookline residents told WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas they're worried about long lines, strain on parking, and customers who toke up in public near the dispensary, which sits at the bustling intersection of Washington, Boylston, and High Streets.
According to a Boston Globe article published Sunday, NETA is possibly the busiest pot dispensary in the whole country, seeing an average of 2,500 customers each day. The national average for pot stores is 121 customers a day.
It's the closest recreational dispensary to Boston, sitting just a few blocks from the city line with Brookline; the only other recreational dispensary in Metropolitan Boston is Garden Remedies in Newton. The next closest is Alternative Therapies Group in Salem.
NETA is also the only one in the area where customers can come without an appointment, which means a lot of people show up to an area where parking opportunities are already stretched thin, according to residents.
John Rourke lives just a few blocks away on Boylston Street, and says parking in the area has been terrible since NETA opened its doors in March.
"The parking has just turned into a nightmare, it's always blocking my shop," he said. "Be a little more conscious about people parking in front of driveways, people running businesses. They've got to stop. They're interfering with everybody's business here."
NETA's Director of Operations, Lynnette French, said they're working to reduce the long lines and get people in and out as soon as possible.
"Parking is at a premium in Brookline," French said. "We've always encouraged people to take public transportation."
Then, there's the perceived increase in people smoking marijuana nearby. Massachusetts laws prohibit the public consumption of marijuana, and the act carries a fine of up to $100.
One woman said she sees people "rolling joints, or they're packing bowls, in places where they really shouldn't."
Another man said that, though he supports legal, recreational weed, he's concerned about seeing more people smoking in nearby parks.
French asked those in the area to report anyone smoking NETA's products in public to the proper authorities.
"We need people to report things, and if there is public consumption going on, either to bring that forward as a concern or to let the police department know," she said.
Brookline Police told The Globe that, while more people are smoking pot in public, it isn't clear if that's related to NETA in particular or newly-legalized recreational marijuana in general.
WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports