Massachusetts Marijuana / Cannabis Medical Use Law: Legal
- On November 6, 2012, 63% of Massachusetts citizens voted to approve Ballot Question 3, Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative.
- Must possess a Registry identification card issued by the Massachusetts Health and Human Services Department of Public Health.
- A qualifying patient or designated primary caregiver may possess up to a “Sixty-day supply” which means the amount of marijuana that a qualifying patient would reasonably be expected to need over a period of sixty days for their personal medical use or up to 10 ounces of marijuana or as otherwise defined by the commission.
Massachusetts Recreational Marijuana / Cannabis Recreational Use Law: Legal
- On November 8, 2016, Massachusetts citizens voted to pass a ballot initiative (Question 4) making recreational cannabis legal
- Legislation signed on 30 December 2016 extending the start date for recreational cannabis sales by six months, to July 2018.
- A person 21 years of age or older may use, possess or purchase up to 1 ounce of marijuana
- Each household can grow up to six plants, or twelve for those with more than one adult
Medical Marijuana in Massachusetts
Maine has allowed prescribing, and limited possession, of medical marijuana since 1999 but the law lacked any distribution mechanism and questions arose of noncompliance with federal law and of how patients could legally obtain the prescribed marijuana. On November 3, 2009, Maine voters approved Question 5, which enacted the citizen-initiated bill, “An act to establish the Maine Medical Marijuana Act” (LD 975, IB 2).
Chapter 369 of the Acts of 2012, An Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana, allows a qualifying patient to possess a 60-day supply of marijuana if the patient has a written certification from a Massachusetts licensed physician. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) was charged with issuing regulations to implement a medical use of the marijuana program, which includes registration of qualifying patients, caregivers, dispensary agents, and defining a 60-day supply.
Recreational Marijuana in Massachusetts
Since Massachusetts voters approved a ballot question legalizing recreational use of marijuana in 2016, the State legislature has been working on rewriting the marijuana laws. A major amendment was signed into law on July 28, 2017. The legislation is called “An Act to Ensure Safe Access to Marijuana.” (Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017)
The new law creates the Cannabis Advisory Board and Cannabis Control Commission, and it specifies the appointment of members, their duties, and the decision-making process.
Medical Marijuana Facility Licensing
The first recreational license for cultivation only was granted on Jun 21, 2018, and as of this date, no recreational retail licenses had been granted, making it difficult for sales to occur on the first day of legalization, July 1. New licensees have to wait for approval before planting, so existing medical dispensaries that expand to recreational sales have a competitive advantage, but must also wait for approval.