Cannabis

The Best Recreational Dispensaries Near Boston

Start the year off on a high note.

We hold this COVID-19 truth to be self-evident: marijuana dispensaries are absolutely essential right now, which explains why business has been so brisk. Recreational dispensaries were forced to close for two months back last spring, but once they got the green light to reopen, folks poured back in. Most sites, both medical and adult-use, are operating with regular or near-regular hours and are offering advance online ordering, plus some great deals. So no time like the present to explore alternative treatments for your end-of-world anxiety. 

While we’ve included distances from Boston, we strongly encourage you to stay as local as possible. Also, we’ve included info about nearby, still-open outdoor areas where you can grab some fresh air at a safe social distance—at least until the inevitable snow and ice rolls in.

Pure Oasis

Dorchester 
Boston’s first recreational cannabis dispensary—and in fact, the first recreational shop to open in a major East Coast city—has overcome more than its share of hurdles. Like every other adult-use spot, Pure Oasis has to shutter for more than two months this spring. In this case, however, it was about a week after Pure Oasis first opened its doors. The shop was also unfortunately robbed over the summer. And yet despite all that, The Black-owned Pure Oasis has barely skipped a beat, today doing tremendous business selling flowers, prerolls, concentrates, and edibles like chocolates and fruit chews. 
COVID-19 protocol: Visit during regular business hours; call 617-420-6838 to speak to a budtender beforehand.
Nearby natural high: Franklin Park is the city’s largest open space and a year-round spot for long nature walks.

NETA Brookline

Brookline
NETA Brookline is housed inside a beautiful, converted bank, all high ceilings and ornate dark wood; the only difference is that the “tellers” traffic in the doob. The menu is comparable to its Northampton counterpart, though its enduring popularity sometimes means its product runs out more quickly—especially right now. Bonus points go to the staff members for their friendly but no-nonsense attitude (not every dispensary visitor seeks a woo-woo experience).
COVID-19 protocol: You can place your order online ahead of time (walk-ins are not allowed).  Those with a medical card who live within seven miles of the facility can also order delivery
Nearby natural high: Brookline Reservoir Park is a great spot to get your steps in before heading back home.

Cultivate

Framingham and Leicester
With a name like Cultivate, you’d expect a farm-like approach to their product, and the dispensary doesn’t disappoint: “seed to table” is Cultivate’s governing philosophy. The lineup of flower, pre-rolls, wax, and vape cartridges is impressive, but how intriguing is that infused olive oil? Lockdown cooking just got a lot more exciting. And no one ever went wrong making  cannabis-chocolate chip cookies their quarantine treat. 
COVID-19 protocol: Patients must reserve ahead of time online for both the Framingham and Leicester facilities.
Nearby natural high: A stroll through Frank Cook Forest In Leicester will provide a needed shot of nature.

Northeast Alternatives

Fall River
Northeast Alternatives (NEA) has a poignant back story. At age 19, founder Chris Harkins witnessed the deep suffering his mom experienced from the cancer that would eventually take her life; when his dad was diagnosed with cancer years later, Harkins sought alternative treatments to alleviate pain and learned more about the efficacy of cannabis. NEA today sells flower, pre-rolls, concentrate, edibles, and vape cartridges; its unique selling proposition has to be its sativa energy drink with notes of cherry and pineapple.
COVID-19 protocol: The dispensary is open for regular business hours and is accepting online orders.
Nearby natural high: The Freetown-Fall River State Forest provides 25 miles of hiking trails.

INSA

Easthampton, Salem, and Springfield
There’s the standard lineup of flower, pre-rolls, vape cartridges, and concentrates, but INSA also offers the Dart Pod, CCell’s vape system that’s  lighter and boasts more vapor production than standard cartridges. Most intriguing of all are the body lotions, guaranteed to give you the most relaxing self-care time ever (which we sure as hell could use right about now). 
COVID-19 protocol: Order online for fastest service.
Nearby natural high: Mount Tom State Reservation is a one-stop nature hit.

NETA Northampton

Northampton
This was the state’s first recreational dispensary, and when it opened, the wait times were measured in hours and parking spots were miles away. Things have since calmed down, but we can’t guarantee what things’ll look like in this age of uncertainty and upheaval. The menu inside this spa-like space is impressive: a variety of flower and pre-rolls; many edibles, including gummies and lozenges, and topicals like lotions and salves. Their cartridges start with the basic Rempen and the purer Apex, plus their proprietary Rubi (everything else fits the 510 vape cartridge standard). 
COVID-19 protocol: All orders must be placed ahead of time via Reserve Ahead; medical deliveries also available.
Nearby natural high: Northampton’s Parks and Recreation Department suggests Friends of Northampton Trails and Broad Brook Coalition as two safe places to visit during this time of social distancing (daytime only).

Sanctuary

Gardner, Brookline, Danvers, and Woburn
Of course you want your weed to be organic. At least, you do if you’ve made your way to Sanctuary, which prides itself on the high-quality cultivation of its products. It sells a variety of flower and pre-rolls, plus vape cartridges and a dash of concentrates. Among the edibles are watermelon fruit chews and butterscotch lozenges, but we’re betting you’re going straight for the peanut butter cookies. 
COVID-19 protocol: Most dispensaries are available for in-store shopping, but preordering is encouraged if not required.
Nearby natural high: Dunn State Park includes hiking trails and a new bike trail, both well-suited to outdoor social distancing for now. Near Gardner is the Floodswood Conservation Area and Brookline Reservoir Park is a great option, too. 

Theory Wellness

Chicopee, Bridgewater, and Great Barrington
“Seed to sale” is the new “farm to table,” and Theory is a trailblazer. Its small-batch product is grown right in Bridgewater: a good variety of flowers with two sizes of pre-rolls, plus cartridges, Pax pods, and concentrates. The shops also have plenty of edibles, tinctures, and a muscle lotion that won’t get you high, but will definitely ease coronavirus tightness. 
COVID-19 protocol: Preorder on the same day you plan to pick up. 
Nearby natural high: Explore hundreds of hiking trails in Great Barrington and the recently improved trails in Bridgewater’s town parks. Chicopee State Park includes cross-country skiing trails.

Patriot Care

Boston, Lowell, and Greenfield
Patriot runs one of the few medicinal dispensaries in Boston proper and has since added two spots to its repertoire. The flower menu is impressive—more than two dozen varietals currently. Will the weed massage oil give your shoulders the munchies? Only one way to find out. If you’re going to gorge during these trying times, you might as well make the most of it. 
COVID-19 protocol: Right now, all three medical dispensaries are still open during regular hours for in-store purchases, but you’re still best served by either emailing or calling to place your order ahead of time. 
Nearby natural high: If you find yourself at the Greenfield location, visit nearby Rocky Mountain Park along the Connecticut River is 117-acre wooded park with hiking trails and a 1912 sandstone observation tower.

Berkshire Roots

East Boston and Pittsfield
Pittsfield is clearly the Highest Town in Massachusetts, given its two different recreational dispensaries when most Massachusetts towns don’t even have one (Temescal Wellness is the other). All that is on pause, of course, but Berkshire Roots, which just opened in April boasts the largest growing operation in Western Mass, and their robust flower selection backs it up. They have pre-rolls and a selection of concentrates as well as gummies, chocolate, and four different tinctures, all made in-house. Never mind that you’ll feel like you’ve walked into an REI, the space is so calm and modern.
COVID-19 protocol: Online orders encouraged at both locations.
Nearby natural high: Pittsfield State Forest for waterfall hikes and the famous Balance Rock or a stroll along the Seaport for some soothing salt air.

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Meaghan Agnew is a Boston-based contributor to Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.