Massachusetts is known for many things: the Pilgrim landing, the Salem witch trials, the invention of basketball, and some of the world's most distinguished institutions of higher learning. But these days, the Bay State is making the news feeds for something more herbal in nature: officially entering the adult-use marijuana market. Before you run out and toke up before a walking tour of the state's historical landmarks, make sure you know all the important facts about legalized weed.
Where and How to Buy
Two medical marijuana dispensaries made history Nov. 20, 2018, becoming the first in the state to receive licenses to sell recreational marijuana and opening their doors for adult-use sales. Massachusetts' first license for a recreational marijuana store was issued July 2, 2018. Not only that but in the first five days of sales, New England Treatment Access (NETA) in Northampton and Cultivate in Leicester sold more than $2.2 million worth of marijuana products.
Additional recreational marijuana dispensaries can be found on Weedmaps as they open. Adults 21 and older can buy recreational marijuana at licensed retailers. Bring a government-issued ID like a driver's license or passport to enter the dispensary. Though debit cards might be accepted, bring cash since most retailers have trouble with banks because of marijuana's federal status as a Schedule I controlled substance.
How to Consume
Massachusetts allows marijuana users to have up to 1 ounce, or 28.35 grams, on them and up to 10 ounces, or 283.5 grams, in their home. Marijuana users can grow up to six plants at home and up to 12 plants between two or more adults at home. Quantities of more than 1 ounce of cannabis at home must be locked away. Marijuana use is only allowed in a private location, such as your home.
What Isn't Allowed
Public consumption of marijuana is forbidden. It is illegal to have an open container of marijuana in the passenger area of the car. Store it in the trunk in a closed container or in the glove compartment. Public consumption carries a $100 fine and an open cannabis container in the car can mean a $500 fine. As with alcohol, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana.
It's an exciting time in the state, but don't get too excited. First-time use should be approached with a sense of moderation. Make your visit to the dispensary an educational one. Ask a lot of questions and let your budtender know you are a newbie. Remember, there's no rush. You'll be much better off starting with a 3-milligram dose of an edible than getting too high and regretting it for several hours.
Cannabis Legalization in Massachusetts
Voters approved the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative, or Question 3, in November 2012.
State voters passed Question 4 on Nov. 8, 2016, legalizing adult use marijuana and creating the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) to regulate marijuana statewide. The Question 4 ballot petition became Chapter 334 of the Acts of 2016, which later was amended to become Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017. The adult-use cannabis regulations officially took effect March 29, 2018. The CCC's licensing system opened to priority applicants, mostly registered medical marijuana dispensaries, in April 2018 and to general applicants in May 2018.
As mandated by state law, oversight of the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Program was set to transfer from the Department of Public Health (DPH) to the CCC on Dec. 23, 2018.