Massachusetts voters passed Question 4 to legalize recreational marijuana possession. The votes make cannabis completely medically and recreationally legal for purchase, possession, and limited grow operations in eight states (Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and Washington, D.C.).
At a Glance
- Create a commission similar to the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) to oversee a tightly controlled system of licensed retail stores, cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities and testing facilities.
- Require businesses to test marijuana products and adhere to strict packaging and labeling guidelines.
- Give cities and towns the right to regulate, limit, or prohibit the operation of marijuana establishments.
- Impose a 3.75% excise tax on marijuana sales on top of the 6.25% MA sales tax, and allow cities and towns to add a local tax up to 2%.
- Allow adults 21 years of age or older to possess and cultivate marijuana in limited amounts.
Massachusetts’ Marijuana Laws
Currently medical marijuana is legalized in Massachusetts, allowing people with ALS, cancer, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Hep C, MS, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions qualified by patient physicians to purchase, cultivate, and consume up to 10 ounces of cannabis every two months. Massachusetts can have up to 35 state-licensed dispensaries, and a personal caregiver of at least 21 years of age can cultivate cannabis for a patient if that patient cannot get to a dispensary or are suffering from financial hardship. There are currently 28,860 medical cannabis patients registered in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts recreational marijuana law (The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act) will allow adults over the age of 21 to purchase, possess, and consume cannabis with the oversight of a cannabis advisory board. Massachusetts recreational cannabis customers will most likely be able to purchase it in local dispensaries by January of 2018, although retail applications will begin the acceptance process in October of 2017. Medical dispensaries already in business in the state will have first shot at application, and other applicants could follow in 2018. As of now, retailers, testing labs, and cultivation centers are allowed in every city or town in Massachusetts, but could be banned by individual communities in the future. All facilities must be 500 feet or more away from schools. Six homegrown plants are allowed for anyone 21 or over, and 12 plants is the household limit. The state is imposing a 6.25% sales tax and 3.75% excise tax on rec sales, and individual towns and cities can add up to 2% to those numbers. All medical cannabis sales in Massachusetts are untaxed. Cannabis use would remain private and illegal in the workplace, and landlords can prevent smoking cannabis in their leases. The Cannabis Control Commission will set packaging, advertising, and license issuance laws and regulations, paid for by the excise tax, licensing fees, and violation fines.