NEW BEDFORD — It's official: New Bedford's first-ever recreational cannabis store has opened its doors.

One day after opening to the public on Monday, Feb. 6, the Ascend New Bedford parking lot had a steady stream of vehicles visiting the Coggeshall Street store.

It's been a long time coming, after the business was initially approved by the city's planning board in April 2021.

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The store received final approval after one last state inspection, opening just a few days after its tentative end-of-January goal.

"We are loving the vibe, the welcome of the community, and we've had a line ever since we opened," Ascend New Bedford General Manager Philipp Angeles told WBSM News.

He noted that this is just the soft opening, with a grand opening set for Feb. 17.

Although the opening wasn't really widely advertised, Angeles said, an email was sent out when the menu went live online — and with word of mouth through social media, customers started coming quickly.

"As you can see, with the incoming traffic, it's well-received," he noted with a grin. "We're excited!"

Several customers browsed electronic menus of cannabis and THC-infused products in the store on Tuesday afternoon.

Ascend New Bedford lobby
Kate Robinson/Townsquare Media

Angeles said the store only takes payment in cash or debit cards, and there is an extra state-imposed cannabis sales tax.

Customers' photo IDs are checked at the door and at the register, and visitors must enter through one area and leave though another.

But the extra security didn't seem to dampen customers' enthusiasm, with a buzz of energy palpable in the brand-new building as staff chatted to visitors and among themselves.

"We've been welcomed with open arms by the community of New Bedford," Angeles said. "So we're super happy!"

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