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It's Always 4:20 In NETA, Massachusetts' Leading Dispensary

The dispensary's President told us what makes NETA so innovative, while stressing the importance of compliance and education.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You don’t need to be a regular marijuana user to know that 4:20 is an international symbol of the entire culture. It’s like the Swoosh for a certain athletic company, or like the motto “I’m Lovin’ It” for a certain fast food brand. The three little numbers represent the cannabis community as a whole -- and in NETA (New England Treatment Access), it’s always 4:20.

Courtesy of NETA

No, really, walk into the cozy (and unique) dispensary in Brookline, Ma. and look above one of the entranceways to see for yourself, as the clock is permanently displaying the three digits, which represents a unity and a reminder of the safe haven of the cannabis community within the state.

Courtesy of NETACourtesy of NETA

Located in a national historic registry building that once housed a bank, NETA is clearly more than just a place to buy some weed, but, rather, a progressive operation that is helping shape the entire marijuana infrastructure in Massachusetts -- despite some of the skeptics within its own neighborhood.

RELATED: How Medical Cannabis Programs Fare In States With Recreational Markets

Having recently traveled to Boston as a guest of NETA (an arm of Parallel), I had the opportunity to talk with the company’s President, Amanda Rositano, who described both the support and opposition. She outlined how critical it is to collaborate with their neighbors and how crucial it is to engage with regulators in the changing environment of rules in this nascent industry for Massachusetts. Rositano provided a glimpse behind the curtain of what makes NETA so successful.

It starts with purpose and a responsibility to serve, but also compliance -- which, in Rositano's words, “is the cornerstone of everything we do.” That’s not just for the nearly 2,500 cannabis users walking through the door on average each day, but also for those users across the Commonwealth who rely on the benefits of marijuana to improve their lives.

Described by the Boston Globe in a 2019 article as one of the “busiest dispensaries in the U.S.,” NETA prides itself on innovation, adaptation, collaboration and execution. It’s these four pillars that have separated it from the pack of dispensaries across the country, allowing it to deliberate away from what has become standard, while becoming the leader in working with lawmakers to provide an experience that’s both compliant and unique.

Courtesy of NETACourtesy of NETA

Look no further than the more than 30 point of sales systems for adult-use customers as evidence of that. That type of flexibility allows budtenders to give a personal care to every customer, working with each to provide in-depth education in order to define the right product(s) specific to his or her needs.

NETA also goes above and beyond when it comes to medical sales, for those with a Massachusetts license. Similar to the adult-use strategy, the dispensary not only takes a responsibility of providing the best products to its medical user community, but it redefines what it means to give a personal touch to each consumer as well.

For instance, while visiting NETA, I was brought back to a guidance counselor like room, with one of its employees spending 45 minutes with me to discuss my goals with marijuana. Was I looking for a way to sleep better? A way to ease anxiety? Something to help with pain? Not only did we spend time discussing personal objectives, but she outlined a variety of product offerings based off of NETA’s menu, which had things from tinctures to edibles to xxxx -- and everything in between. It’s this focus on education that allows consumers to feel unique, with NETA understanding that there’s no “one size fits all” solution for every person.

RELATED: 5 Things You Need To Know Before Opening A Dispensary

It isn’t by accident that NETA is leading the charge of innovation in the cannabis space. As part of the Parallel family, it allows them to scale the business operations, which, in essence, leads to collaboration among its employees. From the in-house workers on the front lines interacting with customers on up to Rositano and the leadership team, NETA finds new ways to work together to provide education to its entire community. It’s an unmatched empathy that gives a voice to every employee within the organization. It also allows them to stay compliant but not complacent, taking the ideas and structuring them in a way to best fit with current state laws. They listen to employees and customers in order to adapt to needs, ensuring the best products and experience to fit the framework of state legislation.

Courtesy of NETACourtesy of NETA

NETA knows that products, process and people lead the charge when it comes to success in business, and this type of mentality allows for an infrastructure that is unmatched within the industry. Call it strength in numbers, if you will.

NETA is redefining what a dispensary can be by becoming the voice of the Massachusetts cannabis user. They’re constantly adapting and listening to the industry, which, in turn, provides confidence that shelves are stocked with innovative, effective and quality products. It allows customers the ability to feel comfortable by asking questions prior to making a decision, and, because NETA understands the obsession with education and compliance, it’s that one place where it’s always 4:20.