Updated at 4:18 p.m.

The rain didn't stave off crowds Tuesday morning in Leicester and Northampton, where the state's first two recreational pot shops opened, more than two years after Massachusetts voters chose to decriminalize recreational marijuana.

By 6 a.m., a line stretched nearly to the end of the block outside of the New England Treatment Access (NETA) in Northampton, even though the store wasn't scheduled to open until 8. The first customers arrived shortly after midnight, waiting for eight hours through rain, sleet and snow.

By the afternoon, the wait to get to the dispensary's door was more than two hours long, but the mood of the crowd was festive. And some customers were able to bypass the long lines by pre-ordering their marijuana products online.

Norton Arbelaez, NETA's director of government affairs, said they’ve seen a lot of customers from out of state.

"We're really getting people here — because we are out west — from New York, from Connecticut, from New Hampshire, so we're getting a nice regional pull as well," he said.

David Narkewicz, Northampton's mayor, was the first to be served, though he said Monday he would save the chocolate bar he buys for posterity, rather than consuming it. Narkewiciz, a veteran himself, says he has heard stories about how marijuana has helped other veterans.

“I do think that as a supporter, a longtime supporter both of legalization of medical marijuana and as a supporter of adult use marijuana, I think it sends and important message that I be the first person to make that purchase,” he said. "I’m excited that my fellow veterans who need access to this, whether it’s for PTSD or traumatic brain injury or depression or anxiety, this has been life changing for them.”

About 45 miles east, in Leicester, Stephen Mandile was the first customer to purchase recreational pot at Cultivate Holdings Dispensary. Mandile is an Iraq war vet and medical marijuana advocate. He said he wanted to break the stigma that marijuana is just for low-energy stoners. After he made the purchase, he was presented with a flag by the local police department in honor of his service.

“We’re breaking the stigma today," he said, "the old aura around cannabis being something scary and dangerous and evil.”

Will Luzier, who led the campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, was also near the front of the line.

"It's a great day, a historic day, too long in coming," Luzier said. "We need to get the rest of them open."

Sam Barber, president of Cultivate Holdings, said the store has been preparing for this day. He spoke to the crowd at his store, saying, calling this a “huge and historic day for everybody." He continued, "We’re going to work our hardest to make sure this is a huge benefit for everybody. Let’s make this positive. ... I think people are going to change their mind about cannabis.”

The ability to to legally buy recreational marijuana comes with a hefty tax. Statewide, there's a standard 20 percent tax on recreational pot — a 17 percent state tax and a 3 percent city or town tax. In Leicester, there's also a 3 percent host community agreement. But that didn't dissuade consumers like Brittany Beeso.

"I’m going to do it anyway. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, so I’m excited," she said.

Barber said that making cannabis more broadly available is going to help people, and he's excited to finally get started.

“The big thing is seeing everybody come in," Barber said. "Seeing everybody's faces and how how happy they are to see this this moment finally arrive, after two years of waiting."

While only two shops opened Tuesday, the Cannabis Control Commission also voted in the afternoon to give final approval for two new recreational shops, in Amesbury and Easthampton.