marijuana laws in massachusetts

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Massachusetts Marijuana Laws

September 19, 2022

To evaluate potential opportunities to start a cannabis business in your state of interest is to understand the patchwork of regulations and laws set forth by regulatory bodies within a state. Massachusetts is the state of interest in this article. So, follow the step-by-step rules issued by the Cannabis Control Commission if you are interested in starting a marijuana business in the so-called Bay State. 

What Are Recreational Marijuana Laws in Massachusetts

Adult Use of Marijuana

You must be 21 years or older to purchase or grow adult-use marijuana. You’ll need a government-issued ID to buy from a Marijuana Retailer in Massachusetts. 

Possession of Marijuana

You may carry up to one ounce of marijuana or its combined dry weight equivalent in concentrate or edibles in a single day and possess up to 10 ounces in your home. 

Cultivation 

Marijuana users in Massachusetts may grow up to six cannabis plants in their home for personal use or up to 12 plants for two or more adults.

Public Use

It’s illegal to consume marijuana in public. You cannot use cannabis in any form-including smoking, vaping, or eating-in public places or on federal land.

Driving

An individual may receive a civil penalty of up to $500 for having an open marijuana container in the vehicle passenger area while on the road or at a place where the public has access in Massachusetts. It must be stored in a closed container and a locked glove compartment. 

It’s illegal to drive while under the influence of cannabis. It’s illegal to drive across state lines with cannabis. It’s also against the law to transport it on a plane, train, boat, or other modes of transportation outside of Massachusetts. 

Delivery

Marijuana laws allow the delivery of marijuana and marijuana products to adult-use marijuana consumers, patients, or caregivers at a permissible residence location.

Entities delivering marijuana may be owners or have a controlling interest in a cultivation, manufacturing, social consumption establishment, research, retail, or transportation license. A person or entity can only have two delivery licenses.

What Are Marijuana Laws for Medical Use in Massachusetts?

Qualifying Conditions 

Patients with the following qualifying conditions may use medical cannabis based on Massachusetts marijuana laws:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) 
  • Cancer 
  • Crohn’s disease 
  • Glaucoma 
  • HIV/AIDS 
  • Hepatitis C 
  • Multiple Sclerosis 
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician

Who Can Qualify for Cannabis Medical Use? 

Qualifying patients over 18  must be approved by a physician and certified by the state before being legally allowed to possess up to a 60-day supply of marijuana.

Two Massachusetts-licensed certifying physicians must approve qualifying Pediatric Patients under 18.

Cultivation 

Massachusetts marijuana laws allow registered medical marijuana patients to grow up to twelve flowering and twelve vegetative marijuana plants at a residence for personal use. Adult-use consumers may grow no more than 6 cannabis plants or up to 12 plants for two or more adults. Registered Qualifying Patients are also allowed to apply for a Hardship Cultivation, which permits them to grow enough marijuana to yield a 60-day supply for personal medical use.

It’s illegal to consume medical marijuana in public in any form, including smoking, vaping, or eating-in public places or on federal land.

Advertising and Labeling Regulations in Massachusetts

Massachusetts framework for cannabis product packaging and advertising includes the following: 

Packaging 

Marijuana or marijuana product packages must be in child-resistant packaging. Boxes must be plain and opaque and must not contain any attributes that may be appealing to minors. Packages should also be resealable if they have more than one serving, limited to no more than 5 milligrams THC per individual serving.

Advertising

Massachusetts law allows retail establishments to choose a brand name, but they cannot use medical symbols, images of marijuana or marijuana products, or paraphernalia images that appeal to minors.

The brand name can’t include any colloquial references to the use of marijuana or cannabis products.

A brand name allows sponsoring a charitable, sports, or similar event under the brand Name. Any advertising in connection with such an event must appeal to those expected to be age 21 or older. Reasonable measures must be taken to prevent advertising from reaching underage persons. 

Advertisements must not target individuals under 21 of age and must contain the message “Please consume responsibly,” together with a minimum 2 of the following warnings:

  • “This product may cause impairment and is habit-forming.”
  • “Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug.”
  • “There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product.”
  • For use only by adults 21 years of age or older. Keep out of the reach of children.” or “Marijuana should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.”

The following is prohibited: 

  • False, fraudulent, or misleading advertising
  • Involving in digital or in print advertising unless 85% of the audience is expected to be over 21 of age.
  • Using statements, designs, or images in advertising that represent someone under the age of 21. 
  • Advertising (Including brand sponsorships) containing celebrities’ endorsements, cartoons, or mascots that could appeal to someone under the age of 21.
  • Advertising that makes false claims about another licensee or statements concerning other licensees and their products that is deceptive, misleading, false, or fraudulent, or that tends to deceive or create a misleading impression, whether directly or by omission or ambiguity.
  • Billboards, or any other public advertisements that are not in compliance with all Massachusetts and local ordinances and requirements.
  • Using vehicles equipped with radio or loudspeakers for the Advertising of Marijuana or Marijuana Products.
  • Using radio or loudspeaker equipment in any Marijuana Establishment to advertise the sale of Marijuana or Marijuana Products.
  • Operation of any website that can not verify that the entrant is 21 years of age or older.
  • Brand Name Sponsorship of a charitable, sporting, or similar event, unless such Advertising is targeted to entrants or participants reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older.
  • Using language or images offensive or humiliating to specific groups.
  • Advertising marijuana or marijuana products on clothing, cups, drink holders, apparel accessories, electronic equipment or accessories, sporting equipment, novelty items and similar portable promotional items. Displaying marijuana or marijuana products so such is visible from outside the establishment. Appearing on or in private or public vehicles, transportation venues, such as bus stops or airports.
  • Advertising the price of marijuana in any way other than permitted by the regulations.
  • Displaying of exterior signage or materials that advertise a particular brand or marijuana product or variety of marijuana on a licensed premise.
  • Marketing of free promotional items such as loyalty programs and giveaways, among other activities, or take-away bags bearing the Brand Name for purchased products that are not allowed based on regulations. 

Tracking and Reporting Requirements in Massachusetts

 

All licensed Marijuana Dispensaries and Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MTCs) are required to maintain a Seed-to-sale Tracking System.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts employs Metrc, which is also integrated with IndicaOnline. It is a web-based marijuana inventory system that uses radio frequency identification technology and serialized plant and package tags to follow marijuana from seed to point of sale.

Conclusion

As we mentioned in our previous blogs, the marijuana laws listed above are more of an informational character rather than legal advice. Be sure to follow the latest updates in marijuana laws, as they are subject to constant changes. 

Being in compliance with cannabis regulations requires a lot of resources and patience, especially when you are new to this business. Our goal is to make it easy for you by covering the basics of what you should know to start a cannabis business.