Is marijuana in Massachusetts legal for medical or recreational use?

Both medical and recreational marijuana are legal in Massachusetts. Medical marijuana passed in 2012 and went into effect in 2013 so qualifying patients 18 years of age or older can purchase and use medical marijuana from several dispensaries throughout the state.

With Question 4 passing in the November 2016 elections, recreational cannabis was legalized across the state. However, dispensaries did not officially open their doors to the public until November 20, 2018. Adults 21 years of age and older are now legally allowed to purchase cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries and possess up to one ounce of marijuana (or 5 grams of concentrate) outside of their residence and up to 10 ounces of marijuana inside their residence. 

Who can purchase or receive marijuana products?

As per the Massachusetts State Law, only those with a valid medical marijuana registration card (or their care-person) may purchase or receive medical marijuana products from medical dispensaries at this time. Registration cards are issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to patients with a documented medical condition and a certification for marijuana use from a qualified healthcare provider.

On July 1, 2018, Massachusetts' recreational dispensary laws went into effect but dispensaries did not open. After much delay, recreational dispensaries officially opened their doors for business on November 20, 2018. Check out our Massachusetts Dispensary Directory for updates as more dispensaries begin to open up.

How much marijuana can I possess in Massachusetts?

Registered medical marijuana patients are legally allowed to possess up to 10 ounces every 60 days or more if a physician deems it necessary. Thanks to the newly passed Question 4, any adult 21 years of age or older is legally allowed to possess up to one ounce of cannabis or 5 grams of concentrate outside of their residence and and up to 10 ounces of marijuana inside of their residence.

How do I qualify as a medical marijuana patient?

A patient must obtain a written certification from a physician for a debilitating medical condition. The law specifies: cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician. The law allows a qualifying patient to possess up to a 60-day supply of marijuana for his or her personal medical use. The regulations define a 60-day supply as up to 10 ounces.

You can learn more here.

How do I find a physician that will write me a certification?

Please use this link to find your nearest doctor in MA

What do I do after my doctor gives me my qualifying certification?

Effective February 1, 2015, paper certifications from physicians are no longer sufficient for compliance with registration requirements under DPH Marijuana Regulations. All patients, including those currently holding a paper certification, must obtain an electronic certification from their physician and be registered with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program to possess marijuana for medical use.

You must make an appointment with your qualified healthcare provider in order to begin the registration process. Your provider will evaluate you to determine if you are qualified for the medical use of marijuana. If you are qualified, your provider will issue you a certification through the MMJ Online System.

Once your healthcare provider has issued you a certification, your provider will give you instructions on how to register through the MMJ Online System and a PIN. This PIN is required for you to register in the MMJ Online System.

Once your registration application is reviewed by the Program, you will be notified by email regarding the status of your registration. Registration applications are reviewed in the order they are received. If approved for registration, you will be able to print a temporary paper Program ID Card and will receive your plastic Program ID Card in the mail in 1 – 2 weeks. The temporary paper Program ID Cards expire four weeks from the date that your registration is approved by the Program, at which time you should have received a plastic Program ID Card. If you do not receive your plastic Program ID Card within three weeks, call the Program at 617-660-5370.

If you are unable to register online, a more lengthy paper registration process is available. Please call 617-660-5370 to request a paper registration form. As a patient, you can gain access to your online account at any time by self-registering with the Program’s Virtual Gateway

For more info visit the Massachusetts DPH's Guide for Patients and Caregivers

Will health insurers or governments be required to cover the cost of marijuana for medical use?

No. Nothing in the law requires any health insurance provider, or any government agency or authority, to reimburse any person for the expenses of the medical use of marijuana.

What are the fees associated with becoming an MMJ patient?

  • Typically the appointment with the physician: $200.
  • Patients Registration with the state: $50
  • Annually ID card replacement: $10
  • Hardship cultivation: $100

Are there purchasing limits as a medical marijuana card holder in MA?

Yes. The amount of medical marijuana you can purchase in Massachusetts is limited to a sixty-day supply of up to 10 ounces from a dispensary with each prescription. You may be able to purchase more if your doctor deems it medically necessary.

Is public consumption legal?

No. Although medical and recreational marijuana are both legal in Massachusetts, you can't consume cannabis in public. That includes on public transportation, parks, schools, sidewalks, and other public places. Legal use is limited to your home or the homes of your friends.

Is it legal to transport marijuana in MA?

Unless you are an adult 21 years of age or older, a registered medical marijuana patient, caregiver, or an agent of a registered marijuana dispensary, transporting marijuana in Massachusetts is illegal. If you have a medicinal marijuana ID card, you can carry as much marijuana as your doctor prescribes you for a 60-day supply. As we said before, that limit is 10 ounces unless your doctor prescribes otherwise.

Caregivers may transport a patient to and from marijuana dispensaries or purchase marijuana for the patient from a dispensary and transport it to the patient. Agents of dispensaries are allowed to transport marijuana to other dispensaries, testing facilities, and to the homes of caregivers and registered patients. Adults 21 years Adults 21 years of age and older may legally transport their legal limit of cannabis within the state.

What if I am disabled or live too far from a dispensary?

A qualifying patient can either apply for a hardship cultivation registration or work with a caregiver to purchase their medical marijuana.

What is a caregiver?

A registered caregiver is a person registered with the Department of Public Health who has agreed to assist a registered patient with their medical marijuana use. For example, a nurse, hospice worker, or home health aide may serve as a registered caregiver. They serve patients who are unable to physically travel to a registered dispensary.

To learn how to become a caregiver, click here.

What are the requirements for personal caregivers?

Except in the case of an employee of a hospice provider, nursing facility, or medical facility providing care to a qualifying patient admitted to or residing at that facility, or a visiting nurse, home health aide, personal care attendant, or immediate family member of more than one registered qualifying patient, an individual may not serve as a personal caregiver for more than one registered qualifying patient at one time.

How can I register someone as my personal caregiver?

Please visit this webpage for instructions on registering a personal caregiver. 

Can I grow marijuana or can my caregiver grow marijuana for me?

If you are a qualifying patient AND you qualify as having a “hardship,” yes. A hardship means that you are unable to access a treatment center for one of several reasons. If there is no treatment center within a reasonable distance of your residence, or none have opened yet, then either you or your caregiver can grow medical marijuana for you. It must be grown in an enclosed, locked facility, and you can only grow enough to maintain a 60-day supply of marijuana for your own use. The regulations define a 60-day supply as up to 10 ounces.

Adults 21 years of age or older are legally allowed to grow up to 6 cannabis plants with a limit of 12 plants per household.