Massachusetts Cannabis Law

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A Guide to Massachusetts Cannabis Law

Recreation Use of Cannabis by Adults is Legal

Massachusetts allows purchase and use of recreational cannabis/marijuana by people over age 21. Purchasers do not need to be a Massachusetts resident; they must have a government-issued ID. You may have up to one ounce of flower and up to five grams of any concentrate outside of your home. Using cannabis in public is prohibited.

Who may buy & use cannabis in Mass.?

  • Anyone age 21 and older. You must show a valid gov’t-issued ID to enter a dispensary. You do not need to be a resident of Massachusetts.

How can I pay?

  • You may use only cash or a debit card, not a credit card. Some stores may have an ATM on the property.

How can I prepare to shop ahead?

  • Most retail stores have a website. There, you can find out location, hours, and you can preview products.

What are these terms? I don’t know what to choose!

  • Retail stores have a wonderful resource for you: budtenders (that is, expert clerks). If you are inexperienced in choosing cannabis, budtenders on duty will advise you. You can simply explain what you are hoping for in your cannabis use (pain relief, sleep help, an exuberant high, a mellow high) and your budtender will expertly guide you to the right choice.

What about the different ways to ingest?

  • Your major choices are flower (the green buds of the plant that most people recognize, which can be smoked in a rolled joint or a pipe) edibles (the essence of the plant baked into candy, confections or other edible items); or tinctures, which is liquid in a very small amount taken under the tongue; or concentrates (varieties with high levels of THC, such as hash). There are even infused seltzers and other drinks coming onto the market. You can find more obscure items, but these are the basics. Stores also sell convenient pre- rolled individual joints or vape cartridges.

How much will it cost?

  • First, a word about quantities, courtesy of the website Green-Flower.com: A gram (g) is the basic amount of cannabis flower or concentrate you can buy. It’s enough for a healthy-sized joint, two skinny joints or 2-3 pipe bowls. As for costs, a quick survey of some MA cannabis stores showed 3 pre-rolls (about .5g each) for $30; one-eight ounce (equal to 3.5 grams) of flower for $50; and candy bars and caramels for $25 each. As with any hobby, prices can rise much higher for more-refined products.

Do stores deliver to my location?

  • Yes, some deliver. Consult the store’s website.

Where may I smoke or ingest cannabis in Massachusetts?

  • You may smoke or ingest only on private property; never on public property.

What about medical marijuana?

  • Out-of-state visitors may not purchase medical-grade marijuana in Massachusetts.

May I buy cannabis in Massachusetts and take it home with me?

  • Under Federal law, it is still illegal to transport across state lines. This may change in the near future, but for now buy it in MA and use it there.

Medical use of marijuana program; immunity from penalty, arrest or prosecution; cultivation registrations; lists of registered qualifying patients

  1. The commission shall operate a medical use of marijuana program, which shall permit a qualifying patient with a debilitating medical condition to obtain a written or electronic certification from a healthcare professional with whom the patient has a bona fide healthcare professional-patient relationship to purchase medical use marijuana from a medical marijuana treatment center. Upon issuance of a written certification from a healthcare professional, the commission shall issue a registration card to the qualifying patient. A medical marijuana treatment center may sell medical use marijuana to a card holder.
    • A healthcare professional shall not be penalized, in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, for: (i) advising a qualifying patient about the risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana within a bona fide healthcare professional- patient relationship; or (ii) providing a qualifying patient with written or electronic certification, based upon a full assessment of the qualifying patient’s medical history and condition, including a debilitating medical condition, that the medical use of marijuana may benefit a particular qualifying patient, within a bona fide healthcare professional-patient relationship.
    • A qualifying patient or a personal caregiver shall not be subject to arrest or prosecution, or civil penalty, for medical use marijuana.
    • No person shall be arrested or prosecuted for any criminal offense solely for being in the presence of medical use marijuana or its use as authorized by this chapter.
    • The lawful possession, cultivation, transfer, transport, distribution or manufacture of medical use marijuana as authorized by this section shall not result in the forfeiture or seizure of any property.
  2. A medical marijuana treatment center and its employees registered with the commission shall not be penalized or arrested for acquiring, possessing, cultivating, processing, transferring, transporting, selling, distributing or dispensing medical use marijuana and related supplies and educational materials to qualifying patients or their personal caregivers.
  3. The commission shall issue a cultivation registration to a qualifying patient applying for such registration whose access to a medical marijuana treatment center is limited by verified financial hardship, a physical incapacity to access reasonable transportation or the lack of a medical marijuana treatment center within a reasonable distance of the qualifying patient’s residence. The commission may deny a registration based on the provision of false information by the applicant. Such registration shall allow the qualifying patient or the qualifying patient’s personal caregiver to cultivate a limited number of plants, sufficient to maintain a 60-day supply of marijuana, and shall require cultivation and storage only in an enclosed, locked area.
  4. The commission shall maintain a confidential list of registered qualifying patients issued medical use marijuana registration cards. Individual names and other identifying information on the list shall be exempt from section 10 of chapter 66, and not subject to disclosure, except to employees of the commission in the course of their official duties and to law enforcement officials of the commonwealth when verifying a card holder’s registration.

Registration of healthcare professionals that issue certifications for medical use of marijuana

  • Any healthcare professional that issues a written certification for the medical use of marijuana shall register with the commission pursuant to regulations promulgated by the commission.

Registration of qualifying patients receiving certifications for medical use marijuana

  • Any qualifying patient receiving a written or electronic certification for medical use marijuana shall register with the commission pursuant to regulations promulgated by the commission.

Limitations on effect

  1. require any health insurance provider, or any government agency or authority, to reimburse any person for the expenses of the medical use of marijuana;
  2. require any healthcare professional to authorize the medical use of marijuana for a patient; or
  3. amend existing penalties for operating, navigating or being in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, train, aircraft, motorboat or other motorized form of transport or machinery while impaired by marijuana or a marijuana product.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Qualifying Patients over 18 years of age.

  • Qualifying Patients over 18 years of age must be approved by a physician and certified by the state before being legally allowed to possess up to a 60-day supply of marijuana.

Qualifying Patients under the age of 18.

  • Qualifying Pediatric Patients under the age of 18 must be approved by two Massachusetts-licensed certifying physicians, who must diagnose the Patient as having either a debilitating life-limiting illness or condition.

You can grow it at home.

  • Massachusetts law allows registered medical marijuana patients to grow up to twelve flowering and twelve vegetative cannabis plants in your home for personal use. Adult- use consumers may grow no more than 6 cannabis plants or up to 12 plants for two or more adults. You may also apply for a Hardship Cultivation, which allows Registered Qualifying Patients to grow enough marijuana to yield a 60-day supply for personal medical use.

It’s illegal to consume medical marijuana in public.

  • You cannot use medical marijuana in any form—including smoking, vaping, or eating—in public places or on federal land.

Conditions approved for medical marijuana in Massachusetts include:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
    • Cancer
    • Crohn’s disease
    • Glaucoma
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Hepatitis C
    • Multiple Sclerosis
    • Parkinson’s disease

Hardship Cultivation Registration

  • Registered Qualifying Patients may apply for a Hardship Cultivation Registration due to financial hardship, physical incapacity to travel to a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MTC), or living beyond a reasonable distance of an MTC. A Hardship Cultivation Registration allows Registered Qualifying Patients or their Caregiver(s) to cultivate a limited number of plants sufficient to maintain a 60-day supply of marijuana.

Out-of-state residents cannot purchase medical marijuana in Massachusetts.

  • Only Registered Qualifying Patients who are residents of Massachusetts or their Caregivers are allowed to purchase medical marijuana.

Check the rules where you live and work.

  • Employers, landlords, cities, and towns may have their own policies governing the use of marijuana.

You can’t cross state lines with marijuana.

  • It’s illegal to drive across state lines with any kind of medical marijuana product. It’s also against the law to transport it on a plane, train, boat, or other mode of transportation outside of Massachusetts.

You can’t mail it.

  • You cannot send medical marijuana by mail—even to states and countries where marijuana or medical marijuana use is legal.
    • If you have more than one ounce of cannabis in your home, it must be locked in a secure place. In fact, it’s best to store all cannabis-based products in childproof packaging and locked away to keep kids and pets safe.

ADULT-USE MARIJUANA

You must be 21 years or older to purchase or grow adult-use marijuana.

  • You’ll need a government-issued ID to buy from a Marijuana Retailer in Massachusetts.

There’s a limit to how much you can carry.

  • Massachusetts law permits you to carry up to one ounce of marijuana. You may possess up to 10 ounces in your home.

There’s a limit to how much you can grow.

  • Massachusetts law allows you to grow up to six cannabis plants in your home for personal use, or up to 12 plants for two or more adults. Learn more about Home Cultivation.

Keep marijuana in a closed container while on the road.

  • Just like alcohol, it’s illegal to have an open container of any form of marijuana in the passenger area of a car. An individual may receive a civil penalty of up to $500 for having an open container of marijuana in the passenger area of a vehicle while on the road or at a place where the public has access. Store marijuana in a closed container and place in your trunk or a locked glove compartment.

Don’t get behind the wheel when you’re high.

  • It’s illegal to drive while under the influence of cannabis. Take public transportation, contact a ride-share, or catch a lift with a sober friend.

Check the rules where you live and work.

  • Employers, landlords, cities, and towns may have their own policies governing the use of marijuana.

A landlord cannot be punished by the state for allowing marijuana consumption.

  • The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 prohibits a landlord from being punished under state law for allowing marijuana consumption or other marijuana-related activities conducted lawfully under the 2017 law and the Commission’s regulations on the landlord’s property.

Out-of-state visitors can purchase marijuana, but…

  • If you’re visiting from another state, you must be 21 years or older and present a valid government-issued ID to purchase cannabis or cannabis-based products from an adult- use Marijuana Establishment in Massachusetts.
    • However, you must enjoy your purchase in Massachusetts, since it’s against the law to transport marijuana across state lines—whether it’s by car, plane, train, boat, or any other mode of transportation. It’s also illegal to mail any type of cannabis-based product, including edibles, even if the final destination is a state, territory, or country that has legalized marijuana.
    • If you’re staying at a hotel or other type of rental accommodation, inquire about marijuana use policies prior to consuming.

Guidance on home cultivation. To grow marijuana in your home:

  • You must be at least 21 years old
    • You can only grow up to 6 plants in your home
    • If there’s more than one person over 21 living in the home who wants to grow at home, the maximum number of plants that may be grown in a home is 12 plants
    • The plants must be grown in an area that has a lock or security device
    • The plants can’t be visible from a public place without the use of binoculars, aircraft or other optical aids
    • You can’t manufacture at home marijuana or hemp by means of any liquid or gas, other than alcohol, that has a flashpoint below 100 degrees Fahrenheit

Massachusetts Marijuana

Massachusetts Laws and Penalties   
OffensePenaltyIncarcerationMax. Fine
Possession Personal Use   
Up to 1 ozNo PenaltyNone$0
Up to 10 oz in the home**No PenaltyNone$0
More than 1 oz (first offense)Misdemeanor6 months$500
More than 1 oz (subsequent offense)Misdemeanor2 years$2,000
**The law provides different limits for marijuana possessed in the home.   
With intent to distribute   
Less than 50 lbs (first offense)Not Classified0 – 2 years$5,000
Less than 50 lbs (subsequent offense)Not Classified1 – 2.5 years$10,000
50 – less than 100 lbsFelony1* – 15 years$10,000
100 – less than 2000 lbsFelony2* – 15 years$25,000
2000 – less than 10,000 lbsFelony3.5* – 15 years$50,000
10,000 lbs or moreFelony8* – 15 years$200,000
Within 300 feet of a school, or within 100 feet of a public parkFelony2* – 15 years$10,000
Causing or inducing someone under 18 years to commit offensesFelony5* – 15 years$100,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence   
Cultivation   
Up to 6 plantsNo PenaltyNone$0
Distribution   
Less than 50 lbs (first offense)Not Classified0 – 2 years$5,000
Less than 50 lbs (subsequent offense)Not Classified1 – 2.5 years$10,000
50 – less than 100 lbsFelony1* – 15 years$10,000
100 – less than 2000 lbsFelony2* – 15 years$25,000
2000 – less than 10,000 lbsFelony3.5* – 15 years$50,000
10,000 lbs or moreFelony8* – 15 years$200,000
Within 300 feet of a school, or within 100 feet of a public parkFelony2* – 15 years$10,000
Causing or inducing someone under 18 years to commit offensesFelony5* – 15 years$100,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence   
Hash & Concentrates   
Possession of up to 5 gNo PenaltyNone$0
Possession of 5 g to 1 ozCivil OffenseN/A$100
Possession of more than 1 ozN/A1 year$1,000
Manufacture or distributionN/A2.5 – 5 years$5,000
Manufacture or distribution to a minorN/A2 – 15 years$25,000
Using a minor to manufacture or distributeN/A5* – 15 years$100,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence   
Paraphernalia   
Selling, possessing, or purchasing paraphernaliaNo PenaltyNone$0
Selling to someone under 18 years of ageFelony3 – 5 years$5,000
Forfeiture   
Marijuana, vehicles, and money are subject to forfeiture.   
Miscellaneous   
Conspiracy to commit any marijuana related offense is punishable by up to the maximum punishment.   
Possession of 1 oz or less cannot result in the suspension of driving privileges.   

Cannabis Advertising Guide

Marketing and Advertising Requirements

  1. A Registered Marijuana Dispensary (RMD) may develop a logo to be used in labeling, signage, and other materials. Use of medical symbols, images of marijuana, related paraphernalia, and colloquial references to cannabis and marijuana are prohibited from use in this logo.
  2. RMD external signage shall not be illuminated except for a period of 30 minutes before sundown until closing, and shall comply with local requirements regarding signage, provided however that the Department may further specify minimum signage requirements. Neon signage is prohibited at all times.
  3. A RMD shall not display on the exterior of the facility advertisements for marijuana or any brand name, and may only identify the building by the registered name.
  4. A RMD shall not utilize graphics related to marijuana or paraphernalia on the exterior of the RMD or the building in which the RMD is located.
  5. 5) A RMD shall not advertise the price of marijuana, except that it shall provide a catalogue or a printed list of the prices and strains of marijuana available at the RMD to registered qualifying patients and personal caregivers upon request.
  6. Marijuana, Marijuana Infused Products (MIPs), and associated products shall not be displayed or clearly visible to a person from the exterior of a RMD.
  7. A RMD shall not produce any items for sale or promotional gifts, such as T-shirts or novelty items, bearing a symbol of or references to marijuana or MIPs, including the logo of the RMD.
  8. All advertising materials and materials produced by a RMD and disseminated pursuant to 105 CMR 725.105(K) or (L) are prohibited from including:
    • Any statement, design, representation, picture, or illustration that encourages or represents the use of marijuana for any purpose other than to treat a debilitating medical condition or related symptoms;
    • Any statement, design, representation, picture, or illustration that encourages or represents the recreational use of marijuana;
    • Any statement, design, representation, picture, or illustration related to the safety or efficacy of marijuana unless supported by substantial evidence or substantial clinical data with reasonable scientific rigor, which shall be made available upon the request of a registrant or the Department; or
    • Any statement, design, representation, picture, or illustration portraying anyone under 18 years of age.
  9. Inside the RMD, all marijuana shall be kept in a limited access area inaccessible to any persons other than dispensary agents, with the exception of displays allowable under 105 CMR 725.105(L)(10). Inside the RMD, all marijuana shall be stored in a locked, access controlled space in a limited access area during non-business hours.
  10. A RMD may display, in secure, locked cases, no more than one sample of each product offered for sale. These display cases may be transparent.
  11. The Department shall maintain and make available a list of all RMDs, their dispensing location, and their contact information.

Cannabis Tax Guide

  • Adult-use retail: Purchases are subject to a 10.75% marijuana excise tax, plus the state’s normal 6.25% sales tax, and an optional local excise tax, up to 3%.
  • The upshot: Expect to pay roughly 17% to 20% tax as an out-the-door total.
  • Medical marijuana: Purchasers pay no taxes on medical marijuana.

https://masscannabiscontrol.com/wp- content/uploads/2022/04/220415_Adult_Use_Regulations.pdf

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