December 07, 2023 4 min read

Massachusetts has witnessed significant shifts in its cannabis laws, transitioning away from strict regulations to accommodate medical marijuana usage. Understanding the nuances of these laws might appear challenging, but fear not — we're here to shed light on the matter.

Come along as we explore the specifics of Massachusetts' cannabis laws, covering possession limits, cultivation guidelines, penalties, and the intricacies involved in accessing and distributing medical marijuana within the state.

Table of Contents
Is Cannabis Legal in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts Cannabis Laws
Penalties for Marijuana-Related Crimes
Where to Buy Cannabis Online

Key Takeaways

  • Cannabis is legal for medical use and recreational use in Massachusetts. 
  • A recreation consumer can possess up to one ounce in public or up to ten ounces at home. 
  • Possession limits for medical users are determined by their doctor.
  • There are penalties for possessing more than the allowable amount of cannabis, for unlicensed sales, and for consuming in public spaces. 

Is Cannabis Legal in Massachusetts?

Cannabis in Massachusetts is legal both medically and recreationally. In 2012, the state legalized medical marijuana, allowing its use for specific severe medical conditions. Four years later, recreational use became legal through Question Four, leading to the enactment of the "An Act to Ensure Safe Access to Marijuana." This legislation permits adults aged 21 and older to buy, use, grow, gift, and transport limited amounts of cannabis.

Regulations for Medical Use in Massachusetts

Qualifying patients over 18 can seek diagnosis by two licensed certifying physicians for a debilitating life-limiting illness or another qualifying illness. Pateints under 18 must have a designated caregiver who is over the age of 21. 

If granted a Massachusetts medical marijuana card, medical marijuana patients are legally allowed to:

  • Possess up to a 60-day supply, with necessary amounts allotted by their doctor. 
  • Cultivate up to twelve flowering and twelve vegetative cannabis plants.
  • Consume cannabis in private spaces or in approved medical facilities.
  • Transport cannabis in a secured container in an area that is out of reach to vehicle passengers. 

Qualifying Conditions and Regulations for Medical Cannabis in Massachusetts

For adults to qualify for a medical cannabis card, they must have a qualifying condition. The qualifying conditions in Massachusetts include:

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

Regulations for Recreational Cannabis Use in Massachusetts

Adult-use cannabis is limited to individuals 21 years or older. In the state of Massachusetts, a legal adult can:

  • Possess up to one ounce in public, 10 ounces at home.
  • Cultivate up to six plants for personal use, or 12 plants per residence for homes with multiple adults.
  • Use cannabis in private spaces, inlcuding rental spaces with explicit permission from the landlord. Landlords cannot be punished for lawful cannabis activities on their property.
  • Visitors 21+ can purchase, but consuming cannabis must be in Massachusetts.

Restrictions for Cannabis Use in Massachusetts

While cannabis is legal in the state, there are specific regulations regarding what consumers cannot do, including:

  • Prohibited from using cannabis in public places or on federal land.
  • Out of state patients are prohibited from purchasing medical marijuana.
  • Consumers are prohibited to cross state lines, mail, or transport cannabis products.

Massachusetts Cannabis Laws

In Massachusetts, cannabis laws cover both medical and recreational use, outlined in several key statutes:

Medical Marijuana Program (M.G.L.C.94I Section 2):

  • Certifying physicians can issue written or electronic certifications to qualifying patients for medical marijuana.
  • The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) provides registration cards for patients to buy marijuana from treatment centers.
  • Protection against penalties for patients and caregivers possessing or using marijuana for medical purposes.
  • Creation and regulation of medical marijuana treatment centers.

Limitations and Regulations (M.G.L. C.94G Section 2):

  • Prohibitions on driving under the influence and transfer of marijuana to individuals under 21.
  • Licensing requirements for marijuana product manufacturers by the Cannabis Control Commission.
  • Rights of employers and property owners regarding marijuana use in workplaces and properties.
  • Regulations on marijuana possession and consumption in Commonwealth-owned properties and schools.

Chapter 180 Of The Acts Of 2022:

  • Establishment of a social equity trust fund funded by 15% of Marijuana Regulation Fund proceeds.
  • Prohibition of excessive rates charged by cities and counties to marijuana businesses.
  • Provision for potential social consumption locations through municipal ballot questions.
  • Simplification of the criminal record expungement process for cannabis-related offenses.
  • Changes in the state tax code to offer tax advantages for marijuana dispensary owners.

Penalties for Marijuana-related Crimes in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, possession regulations for marijuana vary based on quantity:

Possession for Personal Use:

  • Adults can possess up to one ounce of marijuana or up to 5 grams of marijuana concentrate.
  • Within a primary residence, adults can possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana and homegrown plants.
  • Possession beyond one ounce requires securing the products with a lock.

Penalties for Possession:

  • Possession of more than one ounce may lead to a fine of $500 and/or imprisonment up to 6 months for first-time offenders.
  • Repeat offenses may result in fines of up to $2000 and/or imprisonment up to 2 years.

Possession with Intent to Distribute:

  • Penalties for intent to distribute vary by quantity, ranging from fines of $500 to $200,000 and imprisonment from 2 to 15 years.
  • Offenses within specific proximity to schools or public parks may result in additional penalties and mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment.

Cultivation:

  • Adults can grow up to six marijuana plants per residence, not visible from public places, with civil penalties up to $300 for violations.

Hash & Concentrates:

  • Possession of up to five grams of marijuana concentrate is legal.
  • Penalties for possession, distribution, or intent vary, with fines between $500 to $10,000 and imprisonment up to five years.

Paraphernalia:

  • Adults can buy and use marijuana paraphernalia. Selling to minors under 18 is a felony punishable by fines and imprisonment.

Forfeiture & Miscellaneous:

  • All marijuana is subject to forfeiture, including amounts under one ounce.
  • Conspiring to commit marijuana-related offenses carries punishments equivalent to the intended crime's maximum penalty.

Legal Cannabis and Buy Online Alternatives

Although cannabis is legal in many states, hemp-derived THC products are still rising as a noteworthy alternative thanks to their affordability and accessibility. Hemp-derived THC products are federally legal, unlike traditional marijuana products, meaning they can often be ordered online and shipped right to your door. Read “Is Delta-8 Legal? A State by State Guide to Delta-8-THC Laws” to learn more about hemp THC laws near you, then check out our Elev8 and Cloud9 Collections.

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