Medical Marijuana in Massachusetts
The State of Massachusetts began its journey in legalization quite early when voters passed the Massachusetts Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative which decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2008. By 2012, 63% of voters approved of Question 3, or known as the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative, which allowed medical marijuana patients to purchase medical cannabis after being diagnosed with a qualifying condition by a physician. Unfortunately, due to complex licensing and cultivation issues, medical marijuana patients in Massachusetts could not purchase from a dispensary until 2015.
Recreational Marijuana in Massachusetts
On November 8, 2016, Massachusetts voters approved Question 4, which allowed cannabis to be legal for adults to grow and possess. Although Question 4 was a massive victory for pro-legalization voters, there was strong interference by the Massachusetts Legislature which resulted in a delay of implementation by six (6) months as legislators tried to change key aspects of the initiative. After the House passed a destructive bill, advocacy groups campaigned to ensure the Senate would remove the harmful provisions of the new bill. On July 28, 2017, Governor Charlie Baker signed the bill into law, where it kept most of the initiative intact.
The first sales began on November 20, 2018, when two (2) licensed retail stores began selling cannabis products to Massachusetts adults. By October 2020, more than eighty (80) dispensaries opened their doors to cannabis consumers, where the state logged more than $1 Billion dollars in sales. Further, in 2020, the Cannabis Control Commission announced the state’s first-of-its-kind social equity program that reserved all delivery licenses for social equity and economic opportunity applicants for the first three (3) years.
Applications for Marijuana Business Licenses
Currently, Massachusetts has an ongoing application process for both Medical and Recreational Marijuana Business Licenses. Massachusetts is a dual-licensing state, which requires operators to obtain approval from both local and state Massachusetts licensing boards before starting business operations.
Medical Marijuana Business License Type:
A Medical Marijuana Treatment Center, commonly referred to as an “MTC”, is an entity licensed under the medical regulations. An MTC acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes, transports, sells, distributes, delivers, dispenses, or administers marijuana, products containing cannabis or marijuana, related supplies, or educational materials to registered qualifying patients or their personal caregivers for medical use. This license type is commonly referred to as a vertically integrated license as it allows and requires the licensee to perform all associated operations.
Adult-Use Marijuana Business License Types:
- Cultivator (Tiers I – XI)
- Craft Marijuana Cooperative
- Marijuana Product Manufacturing
- Marijuana Microbusiness
- Independent Testing Laboratory
- Marijuana Retailer
- Social Consumption Establishment
- Marijuana Transporter: Third-party Transporter
- Marijuana Transporter: Existing Licensee Transporter
- Marijuana Courier
- Marijuana Delivery Operator
- Marijuana Establishment with a Delivery Endorsement
- Marijuana Research Facility
- Marijuana Research Permit
For more thorough details on each license, click here to review the Cannabis Control Commission: Guidance on Licensure 2021.
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Last Updated: July 31st, 2023