Massachusetts Marijuana Laws

Cannabis laws fluctuate from state to state, making it tough to keep up with specific regulations when you move or travel. Today, we’re helping you master Massachusetts marijuana laws. This way, the next time you find yourself in the Pilgrim State and wanting to puff on some MMJ, you’ll know exactly what you can and cannot do.

First, let’s start with the question on everybody’s mind: is weed legal in Massachusetts?

Legal Status
Fully Legal

Possession Limits
Medical Patients: 10oz (60 Day Supply)
Recreational Users: 1oz

State Taxes
Medical Patients: 0%
Recreational Users: 17-20%

Cultivation
Medical Patients: 6 Plants
Recreational Users: 6 Plants

So, is marijuana legal in Massachusetts? Let’s find out.

  • A Brief Overview of Massachusetts Marijuana Laws

    Massachusetts marijuana laws are fairly progressive and allow both medical and recreational use of cannabis.

    The adult-use law, which was passed in 2016, legalized the possession and personal cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana for those 21 years or older. The state also instituted a retail market, with licensed businesses able to sell cannabis for recreational purposes.

    Medical marijuana has been legal in Massachusetts since 2012 after the state passed the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Program (MMMP).

    This law established a registration program for qualifying patients who can obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes under their doctor’s recommendation. Patients are required to register with the Department of Public Health before they can legally possess or cultivate any amount of cannabis.

    For those interested in selling marijuana commercially, there is an application process that begins with a background check and other requirements that must be met in order to receive an operational license from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (MCCC). A variety of different licenses are available for cannabis businesses such as retail stores, cultivators, product manufacturers, testing facilities, delivery services, and research laboratories. Those who wish to enter the industry must meet the requirements set forth by each respective licensing category.

    Overall, it is important to note that despite being legal within certain parameters in one state, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level under U.S law so users should be aware when crossing state borders or engaging in activities involving interstate commerce while carrying cannabis products with them.

  • A History of Marijuana Legalization in Massachusetts

    The history of marijuana legalization in Massachusetts begins in 2008, when the state passed a ballot initiative known as Question 3. This measure decriminalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults over 21 and allowed those who had been previously arrested or convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana to have their records expunged. However, it did not legalize the sale or recreational use of cannabis, nor did it allow medical marijuana.

    In 2012, Massachusetts voters approved Ballot Question 3, legalizing medical marijuana use for adults with certain qualifying conditions. The law authorized 35 non-profit dispensaries statewide and set up regulations for how the program would be implemented and administered.

    In 2016, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot initiative legalizing recreational marijuana. This initiative allowed adults aged 21 and over to possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis flower (or its equivalent) in their homes and cultivate up to six plants at home for personal use. It also established rules governing the regulation, taxation and sale of recreational marijuana, which will be overseen by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC).

    As part of this legislation, retail stores were authorized to begin selling recreational marijuana products on July 1st 2018. As part of this process, all businesses must obtain approval from local communities before they can start operating legally under state law. On November 20th 2018 Massachusetts became the first East Coast state to open legal recreational cannabis stores after receiving approval from local cities and towns across the Commonwealth.

    Since then there have been numerous updates Massachusetts marijuana laws that have broadened access to medical marijuana across the state—including allowing patients who are under 18 years old to receive medical cannabis with written consent from a parent or guardian—and expanded equity provisions within the industry so more people can benefit from legal access to cannabis products regardless of their background or income level. In addition, new research into potential therapeutic benefits associated with cannabis has been granted special consideration under recently passed laws designed to help advance scientific understanding about the plant’s medicinal properties.

  • Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Massachusetts?

    Yes, Massachusetts legalized medical cannabis back in 2012 with the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative. This vote allowed those with qualifying medical conditions to get access to MMJ and shop within dispensaries.

    At the time, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health regulated the medical cannabis market. But, as regulations have changed and the state has progressed with marijuana laws, this is no longer the case. Today, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission regulates cannabis throughout the state.

    The qualifying conditions for getting your Massachusetts medical card are outlined below:

    If your condition isn’t on this list, don’t panic. Your healthcare provider may consider any other debilitating condition worthy of MMJ and grant you your medical recommendation.

  • Is Marijuana Legal for Recreational Use in Massachusetts?

    Along with medical marijuana, Massachusetts marijuana laws have also legalized recreational consumption in the Pilgrim State. The Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative passed in 2016, allowing those who are 21 years old and older to purchase cannabis in the state.

    Even though the state legalized recreational cannabis in 2016, it wasn’t until 2018 that retail sales actually started. Residents waited quite some time for these adult-use dispensaries to roll out, and they were a bit taken aback by the amount of tax placed upon recreational cannabis versus medical. While medical patients’ products are tax-free, recreational consumers are subject to nearly 20% tax on all adult-use cannabis. Ouch.

    Find out more about the difference between Massachusetts medical cannabis and recreational cannabis here.

  • Is Massachusetts a Reciprocal Medical Marijuana State?

    Unfortunately, Massachusetts marijuana laws currently do not allow cannabis reciprocity. This means that out-of-state medical patients cannot use their medical cards in Massachusetts dispensaries to purchase products.

    However, recreational cannabis is legal in the Pilgrim State. So, as long as you’re 21 years old or older, you can walk into a licensed dispensary and purchase cannabis products. Just make sure you have your ID on you! Otherwise, you won’t be able to go in — let alone buy some flower.

    LEARN MORE: Your Ultimate Guide to Medical Marijuana Massachusetts

  • How Many Marijuana Plants Can I Grow in Massachusetts?

    Growing medical marijuana in Massachusetts is 100% legal as long as you follow proper regulations. When you register for your MMJ card, you will apply for a hardship registration to show that you’d like to cultivate cannabis at home.

    If you’re a medical patient, you’re allowed to cultivate as many plants as you need to give yourself a 60-day supply of medical marijuana. This equates to 12 flowering and 12 vegetative cannabis plants.

    If you’re a recreational consumer, you’re not out of luck! Massachusetts cannabis laws allow those 21 and older to grow up to six plants per person (and 12 plants per household) in a home. Growers must keep their plants in secure, locked locations that aren’t accessible to the public.

  • Are Edibles Legal in Massachusetts?

    Yes! When you’re buying weed in Massachusetts, you’re legally allowed to purchase infused products like edibles and drinkables. Edibles have to have strict labeling regulations, but you will find myriad products on your local dispensary’s shelves.

  • Does Massachusetts Enforce Possession Limits for Marijuana?

    Massachusetts marijuana laws allow for medical patients to possess a 60-day supply of cannabis at one time. This equates to 10 ounces. However, the plants you possess at home do not count towards this 60-day supply, so you may possess more than this at one time, legally.

    Adult-use consumers can also possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis and up to 1.5 ounces of concentrates in the home. Again, recreational consumers can also choose to grow cannabis at home. Do keep in mind that if you violate Massachusetts possession limits, you will be faced with some hefty fines.

  • What are Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Caregiver Laws?

    Massachusetts marijuana laws state that patients who require assistance purchasing or administering cannabis may have a primary caregiver go through the process for them. Caregivers have to be at least 21 years old and cannot have more than one patient at once.

    To become a caregiver, you must first register with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program using their patient’s physician-provided PIN number. Then, you’ll fill out the state’s application, providing all necessary information and documents. As long as you follow the prompts, you should hear back about your caregiver application within a few weeks.

  • What is the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Age Limit?

    When it comes to recreational cannabis, you have to be at least 21 years old to purchase products in Massachusetts. However, this isn’t the case with medical cannabis.

    In Massachusetts, it really doesn’t matter how old you are. If you qualify for medical cannabis, you can get your MMJ card. However, if you are under the age of 18, you cannot do this process on your own. Minors wishing to receive their medical cards must have a designated caregiver who will purchase, transport, and provide medical cannabis products to them. Typically, the parents of minors will register to be their designated caregiver, as this makes the most sense. But, any parental figure or guardian works well, too.

    If you’re 18 or older, you can get a Massachusetts medical card all on your own, no problem. However, if you do have disability or accessibility complications, you can still have a designated caregiver depending on your situation.

  • Are There Limits to Marijuana Purchases in Massachusetts?

    When it comes to purchasing limits, Massachusetts marijuana laws are the same as possession limits. Adult-use consumers cannot purchase more than 10 ounces of cannabis per month, and patients cannot exceed their 60-day supply.

    Keep in mind that recreational consumers cannot have more than one ounce of product on their person at one time. So, if you’re in public or driving to your destination, make sure you don’t have more than one ounce of cannabis with you. Otherwise, you’re breaking the law.

  • What are Marijuana Dispensary Laws in Massachusetts?

    The dispensary laws in Massachusetts are similar to those throughout the rest of the country. If you’re not a medical patient, you must be at least 21 years old to even enter. Typically, many dispensaries will check your ID at the door to ensure that you’re of age. Because of this, you need to make sure you have a government-issued ID on you whenever you go to buy weed.

    Medical patients are in a similar boat. However, you must be at least 18 years old to go into a dispensary with your medical card. When entering, you will present your medical card and usually your ID to show the employees it is legal for you to be there. If you’re under 18 and have a medical card, you must have a designated caregiver (at least 21 years old) go into the dispensary and purchase products on your behalf.

  • Where Am I Allowed to Smoke Marijuana in Massachusetts?

    Just because weed is legal in Massachusetts doesn’t mean you can consume it anywhere. Public consumption of cannabis is illegal under Massachusetts marijuana laws. You can only consume your marijuana products in private residences; if you don’t own the residence, you must get permission from your landlord.

    You cannot smoke marijuana in your car or in any parks, playgrounds, campuses, or public areas. If you do, you’ll be faced with fines and punishments depending on the severity of the offense.


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