The Break Down on State Regulations

The basics on what is and isn't legal in the state of Massachusetts.

Laws vary from state to state. Here's what's going on in Massachusetts.

Recreational cannabis has been legal in the state of Massachusetts for over three years now, with sales only having begun on a limited basis in November 2019. Medicinal cannabis has been legal for nearly eight years. However, many of those outside of either industry still aren’t exactly sure what is and isn’t legal.

So what exactly are the laws? How many plants can one person grow? Can you toke up while on a hike or at a concert? Let’s get into it.

Recreational Cannabis Laws

  • Adults over the age of 21 are allowed to possess 1 ounce on their person and up to 10 ounces in their home. 
  • If an adult has more than 1 ounce in their home, it must be locked away in a safe place. However, the state recommends this for any amount of cannabis. 
  • No open containers of any form are allowed in a vehicle or public place. When transferring cannabis in a vehicle, it must be locked in the glove compartment or the trunk of the car. 
  • It is still illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis. 
  • It is still illegal to consume cannabis in any public space. The penalty is a $100 fine. 
  • Landlords can still prohibit tenants from smoking cannabis, but they cannot prohibit tenants from consuming cannabis via other methods. Make sure to check your lease for any language surrounding cannabis prohibition. As for federally-funded housing, current laws prohibit the use of any federally illicit substance on the property. 
  • Employers can still drug test employees, and are still allowed to fire said employees if they test positive.

Got more questions about recreational cannabis use? See the Cannabis Control Commission’s fact sheet for adult use here

Medical Cannabis Laws

  • Qualifying patients must be adults over the age of 18.
  • Patients must have one of the wide-ranging qualifying conditions, which includes a variety of mental health disorders, chronic pain, digestive conditions like IBS, and many others. 
  • Patients must be certified by a qualified healthcare provider and register under the state’s medical marijuana program in order to obtain a medical marijuana card. 
  • Patients must carry their medical card with them when they visit a dispensary or when they are in possession of cannabis.
  • Patients who qualify may have one registered caregiver, who is allowed to obtain, transport, or cultivate cannabis on behalf of the patient. 
  • Patients may have their medicine delivered if they live within the vicinity of a medical dispensary’s delivery capabilities. 
  • Patients are exempt from the state’s 17 percent sales tax and any local municipality tax on recreational cannabis. 

Cultivating at Home

  • Adults over the age of 21 are permitted to grow up to six plants in their home. 
  • If another adult of the appropriate age who resides in the same home also wishes to cultivate, they may grow another six plants. A total of 12 plants max are allowed per household. 
  • Plants must be grown in a space that can be locked.
  • Plants cannot be visible from a public space. 
  • Individuals are not permitted to manufacture cannabis or hemp with gas or liquid with a flashpoint below 100F degrees, other than alcohol.
  • Penalty for disregarding any of the above is a $300 fine and forfeiture of the cannabis. 

Want to learn more? Check out the state’s guidance for home cultivation here

Cannabis laws are ever-changing here in the state of MA and across the country. Keep an eye out for some progressive changes coming in the state, like home delivery and cannabis cafes

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