Boston, title town, and the city of champions has officially jumped into the ring in the medical marijuana dispensary world.
(tub of weed at NETA)
Now, Massachusetts has had medicinal dispensaries for a year or so, but most are in the suburbs. There are now two dispensaries open in Boston proper, as of yesterday for one of them, and they are both on our dispenary map. NETA, which is the larger of the two dispensaries, is technically in Brookline, so just past Fenway Park a few miles. Patriot Care, which is in the financial district of Boston, just opened yesterday. This group also has dispensaries in Lowell and soon to be opened in Greenfield. The NETA group also has a second Massachusetts location in North Hampton. The Alternative Therapies group operates a dispensary in Salem, Massachusetts. Brockton has a dispensary as well run by a company called “In Good Health.”
Today we are sticking with Boston dispensaries, so it is NETA (Brookline) and the newly opened Patriot Care. Let’s do a tale of the tape on these Boston marijuana dispensaries.
Don’t get your hopes up as both have severe parking issues. NETA in Brookline at least has a small lot that can fit about 7-9 cars. This lot is full most of the time and blocked until a car leaves. The next best thing is street parking in Brookline. Good Luck. Try a back street or side street. Brookline does have public transportation known as the MBTA so look up a bus or trolley schedule.
Patriot Care is right on Milk street and the only parking you will find in that area of the financial district is a parking garage. So if you drive in, be prepared for a $ 20 to $ 30 parking garage stop. Patriot Care also is on public transportation lines if you are thinking of the subway or bus.
EDGE: NETA since they technically have a parking lot. One beats zero all the time.
NETA – stands for New England Treatment Access. Ho Hum.
Patriot Care – I always want to call it Patriot Place, which is the mall attached to Gillette stadium where the New England Patriots play. The fact they got the word Patriot in the name is clutch.
EDGE : Patriot Care
(signage at Patriot Care)
Both do a double ID check, once at the door and once right when you get in. You will have to present both your medical card and Massachusetts ID at the time of purchase as well. So you will be showing both your drivers’ license and medical card 3-6 times. No worries, just get used to it. There are both following strict procedures set forth by the State, so just get with the program. You are getting marijuana by the way. Remember, there is not entrance into a dispensary without a medical marijuana card in the state of Massachusetts.
Both facilities are super clean and super cool, each in their own way. NETA is an old bank, as in the Brookline Savings Bank, and walking gives you the feeling of being in a historic bank. You can see the vault (where they keep the weed?) and they have a greeter to help you get started if it’s your first time. or move you along if you are a return patient. One think I liked at NETA was the normal line and an express line If you are a returning client and know what you want, just get in the express line and no waiting around.
(the vault and lobby at NETA)
Patriot Care is brand spanking new, just opened. They haven’t even had time to get things dirty. Super clean area to walk in, the greeting area is clean, and the lounge while you wait to get in the flower area is super clean and modern. There is nothing cede about either location, so you can put your back alley fears away before you even make the trip. Neither one is in even in an industrial park, so double bonus.
(building lobby for Patriot Care)
Both locations had an ample staff of budtenders to help you pick the right medicine for you. NETA, being open longer and having a larger selection, was more open with showing you strains and products. NETA has a large tub of weed with each budtender that you can smell and see. Patriot Care uses small vials that you shake up and then open to smell the flower. The budtender we had at NETA, Kate, was super knowledge and patient with all newbie questions as well. She was also a card holder and could go into detail about each strain and how they tasted, the origin of the parent seeds, and what to expect with each dosage. Our budtender at Patriot Care was not a medical card holder and did not smoke or use the product. She was very pleasant and nice but did not have the background in the marijuana space. To be fair, there are 8 budtenders or so on duty at each location, and sometimes it is the luck of the draw. I did ask to talk to the “head nerd” budtender at Patriot Care and she was amazing and knew all about the strains and everything about the effects.
(Kate at NETA)
If the luck of the draw had gone to where I didn’t get Kate at NETA and I got “head weed nerd” at Patriot Place, I could be writing the exact opposite right now. A budtender is like a bar tender in a bar, sometimes they are fun and cordial and sometimes they go about their way. Does that mean the bar stinks? If you came in on different nights with other bar tenders, you could have the reverse experience. So, it is the luck of the draw sometimes on when your number is called and you go up.
(vials at Patriot Care)
Since Patriot Care just opened they have about 7 flowers on their menu. They do have edibles like cookies and brownies, but no chocolates. They offer their own name brand brownies and cookies. I did not see shatter, wax, tincture, or vapor options at this dispensary yet. So it is really about picking up some flower or a cookie here, no vapor, wax, shatter, or anything else.
NETA offers the full range of cannabis products, flower, wax, topicals, edibles, and vapor oil. A funny rule in Massachusetts for edible is that the dispensaries can only offer edibles that they make in their own certified kitchens. So you won’t find any Snoop Dog chocolates or Mile High Mints. You can get chocolates, cookies, nuggets and brownies at NETA, but they are all under the NETA name brand and packaging.
(casing at NETA)
Dispensaries in Massachusetts are pretty standard across the board and unless a dispensary is running a special, you will pay very similar prices in Boston or in the suburban dispensaries. It is $ 350 an ounce for flower at almost every dispensary we checked. At NETA, the budtender weighs the order in front of you on a scale as you tell them how much you want. Patriot Care (as well as Alternative Therapy Group In Salem) has them pre measured and in containers already for the order size.
NETA is amazing to walk into and has a vibe and feel of an old time bank. Patriot Care is more subdued as it located in a big building right outside of Boston’s financial district. If you just want to buy the flower, both do the job fine. Prices will be similar and unless you are really searching for that special strain, you will most likely choose the one that is closest to you and has the shortes commute time. If you can get a great sativa or indica at Patriot Care, and it is a 5 block walk for you, you are going to get it there. As opposed to traveling 45 minutes each way for a similar flower in Brookline.
If you want something more than flower, so edibles (chocolate bars and losengers) , topicals, drops, wax, shatter, or vapor oil, you will have to go to NETA in Brookline.
(chocolate bars and flower from NETA)
If smoking the bud is your only concern, then you can get bud at both places at similar prices, so time and distance will be your decision maker. For those a bit more advanced in their consumption, NETA offers you the right supply for your vape pen or dab rig.
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