Massachusetts legalized adult-use cannabis sales years ago but finally got some recreational dispensaries open late last fall. The Gentleman has been positively itching to get up and check out the scene since and, well...you probably want to wait a little while longer.
If you're traveling specifically for recreational weed thinking it'll be just like Denver or Seattle, you're gonna be disappointed, cuz the pickins is awfully slim in Boston. If you gotta go anyway and want some weed while you're there, then I got good news and bad news.
The Good News about Boston Weed
The Gentleman found high quality marijuana flowers, vape cartridges, and extracts on his early July trip to Massachusetts. There were a few really standout products, but there were also a couple real stinkers. I've ranked each below. We'll add edibles later. They take so looooong to judge.
The Bad News about Boston Weed
There aren't many adult-use weed stores open yet! Predictably, they are very busy- expect long lines, limited product selection, and other inconveniences. My dispensary guide below will help you pick your poison. On my trip (early July), there were only two adult-use dispensaries open near Boston.
If you're willing to travel an hour or so, there are several other options. For this guide, we hit up five dispensaries within that range and picked up an eighth of flower, a preroll, a vape cartridge, and an extract from each.
Let's get to it, baby! Here's some shortcuts to get you where you want to go:
- Dispensary Experience Rankings
- Garden Remedies- Newton, MA
- Good Chemistry- Worcester, MA
- Alternative Therapies Group- Salem, MA
- NETA- Brookline, MA
- Temescal Wellness- Hudson, MA
- Marijuana Flower Rankings
- Vape Cartridge Rankings
- Marijuana Extract Rankings
- Overall Dispensary Rankings
Boston Dispensary Experience Rankings
- Garden Remedies- Newton, MA
- Good Chemistry- Worcester, MA
- Alternative Therapies Group- Salem, MA
- NETA- Brookline, MA
- Temescal Wellness - Hudson, MA
We're gonna get into each one below, but a last-place ranking doesn't reflect what a terrible experience shopping at Temescal's Hudson location is. We can start there and go worst to first, I'm down with that!
There are a few other adult-use marijuana dispensaries within that radius, but we skipped them because:
- They were franchises we already visited (Garden Remedies)
- They didn't have any flowers on the menu that day (Caroline's Cannabis)
- Required a shuttle ride (Cultivate, and we already did that with Temescal)
#5: Temescal Wellness- Hudson, MA
I'm sure they're sick of hearing about how people hate the shuttle. Nothing they can do about it right now, I guess, but we gotta dock 'em for it anyway. They do have a small parking lot on site, but it's only for medical patients and folks with handicapped tags. That's cool, I can dig it.
Everybody else has to park ten minutes away and take the shuttle over. The shuttle runs frequently- I waited twelve minutes on exit and less than that on the way over.
No, you can't take an Uber from the parking lot, cuz you gotta get a ticket from the shuttle to gain entry to the dispensary.
I had to wait in line once I got to Temescal, too, so the whole trip took about an hour and fifteen minutes from the parking lot. But there were a few other issues, too:
- I thought the driver was overly defensive regarding one passenger's criticism of the shuttle experience and the shop's prerolls. And he mentioned he accepts tips. Yikes. His first-timer spiel was funny, though.
- Strange rule limits- like, you could only get a half-gram of concentrate each trip through the line, but they'd let you go through the line up to three times so long as you don't buy a full ounce of flower at once. Just typing that is exhausting.
- Security is real, actual police officers. Look, I'm totally down with former LE working security in the cannabis industry. I mean, I don't love it, but compromises have to be made to end the War on Drugs and this is one I get. But armed men with the authority to jam me up triggers my paranoia, facts.
Their GG #4 was totes legit, though, coming in first in my rankings. The Sira Naturals cart I got from them was good for #2 on vape cartridges, too, likewise the CORE Concentrates Live Resin for extracts. Cumulatively, they've got one of the best selections around.
The overall experience, however, is rough and weird, which I usually like, but not like this. And the preroll was so awful I couldn't bear to smoke the whole thing. It was foul.
#4: NETA Brookline- Brookline, MA
It's a pity to put NETA down this far on the list cuz the shop is quite cool. North England Treatment Access' Brookline shop is a converted bank, like many dispensaries are, but this one still looks the part. The budtenders even stand behind teller desks! Very hip.
It's the closest one open to Boston, so it's the busiest. I drove by it on the Fourth and the line was enormous. The next day I arrived at 10:15am, fifteen minutes after opening, and still had to wait in line for forty-five minutes.
And it was hot. I've been at other dispensaries with long lines and they handed out water to folks in line on days like that, or maybe some snacks for long lines on 4/20. NETA's got nothin' for you, boo. I asked my budtender, who was very helpful, and she said they often have long lines, not just on holidays. So expect a wait with no shade.
They do have pre-order available, so if you don't need any assistance and are fine picking stuff off a list, you can cut your wait time down considerably. NETA Brookline had both the best extract I found and the worst flower, though, so your results may vary.
They also limited flower purchases to an eighth for each adult-use customer per day, which is pretty harsh. They had shatter available, except demand was too high so they restricted it to medical patients only on the day of my visit. There's supposed to be on site parking but it's probably gonna be full and you'll have to park in the neighborhood a couple blocks away.
#3: Alternative Therapies Group- Salem, MA
Woooh! Salem! I'm a horror nerd so I was thrilled to visit Salem for the first time. I went to the Witch Museum, I got a copy of the Malleus Malificarum, I visited the House of Seven Gables and learned what a gable is...tre' cool.
The Salem dispensary was decent. The building is austere, tall, an imposing brick fortress. Its undecorated lobby made me feel less like I was here to buy weed and more like I was here to visit my weed in jail. Past the security door and it's much brighter and nicer.
But I still had to wait in line- not long, maybe 15 minutes on a weekday afternoon- and while they expected to have edibles available for adult-use customers soon, they didn't on my visit. Had a decent selection for flowers and vapes.
They've got a big parking lot, and that gets it plenty of bonus points even though it's an hour away from Boston. An hour away in Salem. Oh, I'm positively giddy over it.
#2: Good Chemistry- Worcester, MA
You remember Good Chemistry from our last trip to Denver, right? Their shop in downtown Worcester is the only one I didn't have to wait in line or any other nonsense. Parking is limited to medical patients only, but it was easy to find around the block.
The dispensary's exterior is plain, kinda low-key. Just like their Denver shop, though, the inside is too dark. I'm too old to be at a rave, my dude, turn the lights on!
No confusing rules about purchase limits, plenty of options along all product lines, plus the #2 flower I found on the trip, damn close to #1. My budtender wasn't particularly knowledgeable about the product, but that's only a slight knock, cuz she was willing to bring me all the samples I wanted to sniff. A bigger issue is that Worcester is about an hour away from Boston. If you're down for the ride, I can certainly recommend it.
#1: Garden Remedies- Newton, MA
This is the other dispensary actually close to Boston, just half an hour away. This one still requires adult-use customers to make an appointment. I called late in the afternoon, ninety minutes before close, and had to settle for a visit the next morning.
Depending on your schedule, that might be a dealbreaker for you. However, I liked the appointment experience. There was no line when I got there, staff was friendly, and I didn't feel forty-five minutes of line breathing down my neck waiting for me to finish my transaction. I could take my sweet time sniffing and asking questions.
Garden Remedies only had one flower in stock when I visited, the Cornbread, which makes #3 in my rankings. They had several options for extracts, vape cartridges, and edibles.
Nice building, looks sharp inside and out, plenty of light, easy parking. If you're staying in Boston and have time to make an appointment, I think Garden Remedies is your best choice.
Boston Adult-Use Marijuana Flower Rankings
- Temescal Wellness, GG #4
- Good Chemistry, Purple Mayhem
- Garden Remedies, Cornbread
- Alternative Therapies Group, The Chronic
- NETA, Blackwater OG
Overall, I'm pleased with the quality of flower I found around Boston. NETA's Blackwater OG and ACT's The Chronic were both decent, though on the harsh side. Their competition was legit.
The Cornbread from Garden Remedies is rather loose, damn near larfy. The smell is a bit off, but it's clearly a smoother smoke than the previous pair.
Temescal's GG #4 vs Good Chemistry's Purple Mayhem is a close call. They're both superb flowers. Both smoke smooth and exhibit a fine aroma. Purple Mayhem is very purple, like 80s Prince purple, but the GG #4 has tighter nugs and an edge on potency, so it wins.
Boston Adult-Use Vape Cartridge Rankings
- Seven East- Focus (Garden Remedies)
- Sira Naturals- Headband (Temescal)
- RUBI Pod- Blue Cheese (NETA)
- UKU- Double Dream (Alternative Therapies Group)
- Commonwealth Alternative Care- Cold Press Amnesia Haze (Good Chemistry)
When we're grading vape cartridges, we're looking at whether there's any harshness to the pull first and flavor second. CAC's Cold Press cartridge was quite bad. It's not harsh, but the flavor is really off-putting. It's just wrong. I had a similar experience with their extract. Hard pass.
We reviewed an UKU cart from Maryland recently. It's kinda meh. This one from ACT is a little worse. It tastes like it's flooded with terps. And a little harsh.
The RUBI Pod from NETA isn't bad! The potency is ok and it's not fairly smooth. But you gotta buy a RUBI Pod thing to use with it, which you probably don't have. It's pretty cheap and you can use it with refillable nicotine salt liquids, too, so it's not that bad.
The Sira Naturals from Temescal is a big step up in flavor and smoothness- this thing is damn smooth. It seems that comes at the expense of some potency, I'm afraid. It'll do the job for the daytime, anyway.
Garden Remedies is completely vertically integrated- they grow their own flower, process their own extraction, and sell out of their own storefront. I am rather taken with their Seven East vape cart. I picked up Focus- they're all split into effects- and this thing has dab-level potency, just the right amount of flavor, and hits as smooth as the Sira.
Seven East's Focus is a fantastic product. If you want a really strong vape cart, it's worth visiting Garden Remedies for this alone. If you want something lighter, they've got lots of flavors. Or go with the Sira, that's pretty good, too.
Boston Adult-Use Marijuana Extract Rankings
- D Line Distillate (NETA)
- CORE Concentrates Live Resin (Temescal)
- BAKKED Distillate (Alternative Therapies Group)
- Commonwealth Alternative Care Sugar Wax (Garden Remedies)
- Fitchburg's Finest Hash (Good Chemistry)
Fitchburg's Finest Hash is to concentrate what Milwaukee's Best is to beer. Produced by Revolutionary Clinics, this "hash" reminds me of chlorophyll-heavy rosin, possibly pressed from trim. The label says it's actually a blend of distillate, kief, and Pineapple Express terpenes. Well, that's new.
Either way, the Fitchburg is dark, tastes gross, and will turn your banger black on a single hit- even with a Q-Tip. That's gonna be a no from me, dawg.
The Lemon Kush Sugar I got from Garden Remedies says it was produced by Commonwealth Alternative Care. It looks ok but the flavor is way off. Not good.
Alternative Therapies Group has BAKKED distillate, which we've reviewed from Vegas and Denver. I'm fairly happy with this product and think the Terpene Rich description on my Sativa blend to be accurate. It's in the freakin' jars, though, and I hate that. ACT had the Dabaratus but that was for medical patients only. Everybody else has to suck the distillate out of a jar with a dab straw.
Temescal had CORE Concentrates Live Resin in stock and the Blueberry Headband I got was very good. It's terpy, it's potent, and it's easy to work with. No complaints whatsoever.
Brookline's D-Line Distillate, however, is on another level. This Indica blend is the cleanest, smoothest distillate I've ever smoked, hands down. It's a little light on potency for this type of extract, but is certainly sufficient. Plus it comes in an easy to use applicator that helps you get a measured dose and don't lose your precious oil to the sides and inside of a jar! ! I love love love this product. Three loves.
Overall Boston Dispensary Rankings
I feel like Garden Remedies was the best, but suppose we assign the rankings with a reverse point system- 5 points for #1 ranking, 1 point for a #5 ranking- what does that look like? If we consider all factors as equal, than I get:
- Garden Remedies: 15 Points
- Temescal: 14 Points
- NETA: 11 Points
- Alternative Therapies Group: 10 Points
- Good Chemistry: 10 Points
Garden Remedies still wins! Temescal's strong product selection clearly makes up for its disastrous customer experience, though. Even if I knocked their flower back to #2 based on the bad preroll, they'd still be in second place.
If you're willing to drive an hour from Boston to nowhere and venture the shuttle, that might be worth it to you, but Garden Remedies has the bangin' vape cartridges.
NETA is barely over ACT and Good Chemistry, tied for last place. That makes sense, since NETA is closest to Boston, and it had the best extract. Good Chemistry loses a great experience and great flower for poor vapes and extracts, while ACT doesn't really stand out in any way. It never rises above a 3 in any category despite being in the place where witches be.
FYI, we're including the brands they sell at these dispensaries because most brands were only available in one or at most two of the shops I visited. So the products they have on hand should count. It's not like Maryland where every shop has 30 flowers and 10 vape cart brands and so on.
I suppose we're re-evaluate when I get the edibles on here. Stay tuned, folks!