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Massachusetts Marijuana Laws

Massachusetts Marijuana Laws

Marijuana laws in Massachusetts have undergone significant changes since 2012 when sixty-three percent of voters approved an initiative authorizing medical marijuana in the state. Under this law, doctors can provide patients with letters certifying them to use, possess, and grow up to a sixty-day supply of the drug, defined by state regulators as ten ounces.

The law took effect on January 1, 2013. It eliminates statewide criminal and civil penalties related to the possession and use of up to a sixty-day supply of cannabis by qualified patients who possess a "valid registration card" issued by the state. Patients must possess a recommendation from a physician attesting that cannabis assists with the treatment of a "debilitating medical condition."

A few years later, in November 2016, Massachusetts voters again changed the law by passing a ballot initiative legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. The law is effective as of December 15, 2016, and it authorizes adults (21 years of age or older) to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana outside of their residence and up to 10 ounces within their residences. Adults are also authorized to grow up to 6 marijuana plants in their residences and to give up to 1 ounce of marijuana to another adult without payment.

Massachusetts Marijuana Laws at a Glance

A basic outline of Massachusetts' marijuana laws is in the table below. See Medical Marijuana Laws by State and the links following this article to learn more.

Code Sections

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 94C, Section 31 (identifying the classes of controlled substances)

Department of Public Health Regulation 105 CMR 725.000 (medical marijuana)

*Check back for statutory changes reflecting the new ballot initiative legalizing recreational marijuana use, including regulations for business licenses that will phase in over time.

Possession Limits

Authorized patients can have no more than 10 ounces of marijuana every 2 months.

Home Cultivation

This is authorized in limited amounts

Additional Limitations

The number of state-licensed dispensaries is not to exceed 35.

Physicians must register as certifying physicians in order to prescribe medical marijuana.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Massachusetts Marijuana Laws: Related Resources

Questions About Massachusetts Marijuana Laws? Contact an Attorney Today

The changing legal landscape related to marijuana laws at the state and likely federal level could have a significant impact on you or a loved one. To maintain a current understanding of the law or to obtain a strong advocate if you're facing drug charges, reach out to an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney in your area. 

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