Frequently Asked Questions

Regarding Laws Governing Adult Use Marijuana in Massachusetts

What law(s) govern the adult use of marijuana?

The 2016 ballot petition known as “Question 4” became Chapter 334 of the Acts of 2016.  It created General Laws Chapter 94G which governs the adult use of marijuana and creates the Cannabis Control Commission (“Commission”). Chapter 334 and G.L. c.94G was amended by Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017.  These laws are herein referred to as The 2017 Act, unless otherwise noted. See Marijuana Laws in Massachusetts.

Who will be establishing the regulations for adult use marijuana in Massachusetts?

The Commission will establish regulations with input from the Cannabis Advisory Board, stakeholders and the public.

When will regulations be issued?

The 2017 Act requires the Commission to promulgate regulations necessary for the issuance of licenses by March 15, 2018.

When can I apply for a business license to sell cannabis?

The Commission is required under the 2017 Act to begin accepting applications by April 1, 2018.

What kind of business license can I apply for?

The 2017 Act requires five types of licenses to be available: retail, manufacturer, cultivator, craft marijuana cultivator cooperative, and independent testing laboratory licenses.

How can I get a license to grow or sell industrial hemp?

Under the law, industrial hemp can only be used for research purposes and for commercial purposes determined to be reasonable by the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR). The Massachusetts DAR is the agency responsible for this process.

How much marijuana can I have?

If you are over 21 years old, you may possess up to one ounce of marijuana on your person, except that not more than five grams of marijuana may be in the form of marijuana concentrate. In your home, you may possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana and any marijuana produced by plants cultivated on the premises. Any amount of marijuana or marijuana products over one ounce kept within your place of residence must be secured by a lock.  Failure to keep marijuana and marijuana products in excess of one ounce locked up within the home may be punished by a civil penalty of up to $100 and forfeiture of the marijuana. See Penalties for Violations.

Can I smoke or consume adult use marijuana products in public?

No, you cannot smoke adult use marijuana in a place where you are prohibited from smoking tobacco and you cannot consume adult use marijuana in a public place. The civil penalty is up to $100. See Penalties for Violations. Cities and towns may pass bylaws or ordinances authorizing exceptions in certain areas for social consumption.

Can I grow my own marijuana in my home?

Yes. The law allows an individual over 21 years of age to grow up to six plants in their home. If there are other individuals over 21 years of age living in the residence who wish to grow, the maximum number of plants that may be grown in a residence is 12 plants. The plants must be grown in an area that is equipped with a lock or security device. The plants cannot be visible from a public place without the use of binoculars, aircraft or other optical aids. An individual cannot produce cannabis-based extracts or concentrates at home by means of any liquid or gas, other than alcohol, that has a flashpoint below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. See Home Cultivation and Manufacturing.

Can I drive with marijuana in my car?

Like alcohol, you may not have an open container of adult-use marijuana/marijuana products in the passenger area of your car while on the road or at a place where the public has access. An “open container” includes a package with its seal broken or a package from which the contents have been partially removed. The “passenger area” does not include a trunk or a locked glove compartment. The 2017 Act does not change the existing penalties for operating a car if you are impaired by the use of marijuana or marijuana products. You are strictly prohibited from consuming marijuana while operating a car. For specific information, see MGL c.90 § 24.

Can I smoke or consume adult use marijuana/marijuana edibles at work?

An employer may restrict the consumption of marijuana in the workplace.

Can my city or town ban adult-use marijuana facilities?

Yes, but if your town voted for Question #4 on the 2016 state election ballot, entitled: “Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana”, the city or town must pass the ban through a ballot referendum measure where all voters of their town/city would have an opportunity to vote.

Will this new law impact medical marijuana registration?

Your status as a patient does not change under the adult-use law. Under the 2017 Act, by December 31, the Medical Use of Marijuana Program will transfer from the Department of Public Health to the Commission. See Medical Use of Marijuana.

What if I have a question not answered here?

You can email us at cannabiscommission@state.ma.us. You may also come to one of our public meetings and address the Commission when public comment is on the agenda. Please note, however, that the Commission cannot provide individual legal advice.  Our meeting schedules, locations, and agendas are available here on our website.

What cities and towns have been designated as areas of disproportionate impact?

Based primarily on arrest rates, the Commission has designated 29 cities as areas of disproportionate impact. Cities with a population of more than 100,000 people, such as Springfield and Worcester, will be subdivided to reflect that only certain neighborhoods qualify as areas of disproportionate impact.

Notice: Asterisks notes that certain neighborhoods to be designated by the Commission.

  • Abington                    
  • Amherst         
  • Boston*                      
  • Braintree        
  • Brockton                    
  • Chelsea           
  • Fall River                   
  • Fitchburg                    
  • Greenfield      
  • Haverhill                    
  • Holyoke                     
  • Lowell*                      
  • Lynn               
  • Mansfield                   
  • Monson                      
  • New Bedford
  • North Adams 
  • Pittsfield
  • Quincy
  • Randolph
  • Revere
  • Southbridge
  • Spencer
  • Springfield*   
  • Taunton
  • Walpole
  • Wareham
  • West Springfield
  • Worcester*