LEARN | LAWS & REGULATIONS
Is weed legal in Massachusetts?
Yes, both medical and recreational, i.e. adult-use, marijuana are legal in the Pilgrim State.
Possession of more than 1 ounce but not more than 2 ounces outside the home is a misdemeanor with a potential penalty of a $100 fine and forfeiture of the cannabis in excess of 1 ounce.
Voters approved the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative, or Question 3 , in November 2012. Question 3 established the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Program, initially administered by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), to regulate medical marijuana across the Commonwealth.
The Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative, or Question 4 , passed by voters in November 2016, legalized cannabis use for adults 21 and older and created the Cannabis Control Commission (the Commission) to regulate marijuana statewide. Retail sales began in November 2018.
When it was time for legislators to enact Question 4 into law, the two houses had differing approaches but a compromise bill was eventually approved. H 3818 was signed by Gov. Charlie Baker in July 2017 and became Chapter 55 of the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The bill added two more members to the Commission and made the marijuana excise tax 10.75% on top of the state sales tax of 6.25% while also allowing cities to add 3%, for a total of 20% tax on adult-use marijuana. Medical cannabis remained tax-free. The bill also allowed jurisdictions that had voted against legalization to ban retail sales with a vote of the city council while jurisdictions that voted for it would need a referendum to ban sales.
Where is safe to purchase?
Registered patients can purchase a 60-day supply of medical cannabis from any state-licensed dispensary. The 60-day supply is limited to 10 ounces, though the certifying health care provider can specify more on the patient’s certificate. There are medical marijuana delivery services available, and a designated caregiver may transport medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary or grow site to a registered patient. Medical marijuana is tax-exempt in Massachusetts.
Adults age 21 and older can purchase 1 ounce of cannabis or 5 grams of concentrate from licensed marijuana retailers. Adult-use cannabis is subject to a 6.25% sales tax, a 10.75% state excise tax, and a potential municipal tax of up to 3%. As such, most adult-use consumers could encounter a total tax rate of about 20%.
Finding licensed dispensaries in Massachusetts
Registered patients can find licensed dispensaries in Massachusetts and search by cities including Boston, Worcester, and North Hampton. Many dispensaries in Massachusetts offer delivery and curbside pickup services in addition to storefront sales.
Where is it safe to consume?
Cannabis can be consumed on private property, but marijuana products cannot be smoked, eaten, or vaped in public. Furthermore, cannabis products cannot be smoked where tobacco smoking is prohibited. Adult-use consumers as well as registered patients and their caregivers can carry cannabis in their vehicles as long as it is in a sealed container in the trunk or a locked glove compartment.
Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal. Neither drivers nor passengers may consume marijuana in a vehicle. Consumption is generally banned in public but the Commission does allow local jurisdictions to set their own rules around cafes, smoke rooms, or other options for social consumption.
The Commission offers a fact sheet on adult consumption in Massachusetts .
Adults 21 and older, as well as patients and their caregivers, are allowed to possess 10 ounces (283 grams) of cannabis inside their homes, and less than 1 ounce (28 grams) in public. Adults are also allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants per person and up to 12 per household in their homes.
While medical and adult-use cannabis are now legal in Massachusetts, both patients and consumers still face penalties for violating what is allowable under state law . Specifically, public consumption of cannabis or smoking it where smoking tobacco is prohibited can result in a fine of $100, and possessing an open container of cannabis in a vehicle can result in a fine of $500.
View the marijuana laws & regulations for Massachusetts.
1st Massachusetts farmers moving toward approval to grow marijuana outdoors
10/5/17 – Sheffield – Farmer Ted Dobson stands in one of the fields of Equinox Farm, an organic market garden. Dobson is one of a number of farmers in Massachusetts hoping to get into the nascent recreational marijuana industry. (The Republican file photo)
So far, all the marijuana sold in Massachusetts’ legal market has been grown indoors. But that could change.
The Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday approved the first two provisional licenses for companies that plan to grow marijuana outdoors in the Berkshires. The licenses went to Theory Wellness and BCWC, both medical marijuana companies that are also growing indoors.
Brandon Pollock, CEO of Theory Wellness, said the company is partnering with Sheffield farmer Ted Dobson to start a pilot program to test whether marijuana can grow outdoors in Massachusetts.
“Part of the legislative mandate is to have farmers participate. Until now, no farmers have,” Pollock said. “We’re hoping to help everyone in that respect and show that it can be done.”
Pollock notes that this would be the first time marijuana would be grown outdoors to supply the legal cannabis market on the East Coast. “We hope to have the first outdoor farm up and running in a matter of months,” he said.
Theory Wellness operates medical marijuana dispensaries in Bridgewater and Great Barrington. It sells to the recreational market in Great Barrington and has applied for a license to sell in Chicopee. The company grows its marijuana indoors in Bridgewater.
1st Massachusetts farmers moving toward approval to grow marijuana outdoors 10/5/17 – Sheffield – Farmer Ted Dobson stands in one of the fields of Equinox Farm, an organic market garden. Dobson