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Cannabis Legalization and Recreational Use Information

Cannabis Legalization and Recreational Use Information

In 2016, Massachusetts residents voted to legalize the recreational use of cannabis (marijuana) for people 21 and older. Cambridge voters supported this measure with 71% in favor.

Cannabis Businesses
Learn about zoning for cannabis establishments in Cambridge at: https://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Projects/Zoning/Cannabis   

Cannabis Use in Massachusetts 

Adults age 21 or older may not legally consume cannabis anywhere in Massachusetts except on private residential property. Not in parks. Not in cars. Not in parking lots. Regulations allowing use in certain public establishments are currently being developed by the state.

 "Cannabis products" include:
  • “Flower” or “bud” to smoke or to vape.
  • “Wax” or other cannabis concentrates to vape.
  • Edible products and beverages to ingest or drink.
  • Topical products, oils, tinctures, and ointments to apply.
Allowed use:
  • Adults (21+) or anyone with a valid Massachusetts medical marijuana identification card (18+) can use cannabis on residential property unless prohibited by the owner.
  • A landlord cannot prohibit use of prescribed medical cannabis within a residential unit, unless it is smoked and smoking is prohibited in the lease.
  • Adults or anyone with a valid Massachusetts medical marijuana identification card may carry up to one ounce (28 grams) of cannabis flower or bud in public. Five grams of that may be a THC-containing concentrate.
  • Adults or anyone with a valid Massachusetts medical marijuana identification card may possess up to 10 oz. of cannabis flower or up to 5 grams of concentrate in their residence. 
  • With a medical marijuana card, the allowable limit on possession of concentrate may be as high as 1.8 oz (or 51 grams), which is equivalent to a 60-day supply.
Prohibited use
  • Possession, purchase, cultivation, or use by anyone under age 21, unless they have a valid Massachusetts medical marijuana identification card. Violators under age 21 can be fined up to $100 per incident and must complete a drug awareness program.
  • Use of cannabis in any public place including workplaces, parks, restaurants, bars, streets, and sidewalks. Violators can be fined up to $100 per incident.
  • It is against the law to have an open container of cannabis or cannabis product in a motor vehicle. "Open container" means a package with a broken seal, or with some of the contents removed. Open containers must be kept in a locked glove compartment or trunk. Violations can result in a fine up to $500.
Driving Under the Influence
  • The new recreational use law doesn't change the existing state laws for operating a vehicle under the influence of cannabis. It's still illegal to drive under the influence, and drivers are subject to fines and penalties already enforceable under state law.
  • More info about Massachusetts cannabis laws on possession and use: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-law-about-marijuana-possession
Growing Plants
  • An adult or anyone with a valid MA medical marijuana identification card may grow up to six plants at home, but may possess no more than 12 plants per household. Plants can only be grown at a person’s primary residence in a locked or secured location.
  • The plants cannot be visible from a public space without the use of binoculars, an aircraft, or other visual aids.
  • As a safety precaution, it is recommended that anyone cultivating cannabis purchase and install appropriate lighting and mechanical equipment.

Medical Cannabis 
  • The new law allowing adult sale and use of recreational cannabis will not affect the legal status of medical cannabis (marijuana) dispensaries. Dispensaries may pursue state-issued permits to co-locate recreational establishments, provided that local zoning permits are obtained. 

The above information is not legal advice and should not be construed or relied on as such.  It is a summary of certain information distributed by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.   If you need legal advice, please consult your attorney.

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