Zoning for Cannabis Establishments

The Cambridge Zoning Ordinance allows the establishment of cannabis retail stores and production facilities, for medical and/or adult use, by special permit from the Planning Board in certain districts and subject to certain requirements. All cannabis uses are also subject to applicable state laws and regulations and must be licensed by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission.

Pursuant to state regulations, after identifying a location for a proposed establishment but before applying for a license, prospective applicants must hold a community meeting and must execute a host community agreement with the municipality. The Planning Board also requires early community engagement - see the Planning Board Rules (Section 5), CDD Community Engagement Guidelines, and List of Pre-Application Community Meetings for more detail. These requirements also apply to existing Registered Medical Dispensaries seeking a license for adult-use or non-medical sales.

A Cannabis Business Permitting Ordinance has been adopted by the City Council (Ordinance No. 1409, adopted September 23, 2019). Anyone seeking to open a Cannabis Retail Store or operate as a Cultivator, Product Manufacturer, and/or Transporter in Cambridge must obtain a Cannabis Business Permit.

The City Council adopted zoning for adult-use (non-medical) cannabis establishments on December 17, 2018 (see above). The Council is currently reviewing a Cannabis Business Permitting Ordinance, which could establish process for prioritizing specific types of businesses including those with Economic Empowerment or Social Equity designations.

Information and documents related during the zoning process can be found on the Zoning Amendments Page

Discussions related to cannabis establishments have been held by the City Council and its various subcommittees, as well as the Planning Board. Information from many of these meetings may be found on the City's Open Meeting Portal.