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Updated on Monday May 2, 2022

Reviewed By Stephanie Bagnall, J.D. on April 19, 2022

In November of 2016, Massachusetts voters passed Question 4, officially legalizing recreational marijuana for individuals 21 years of age or older. The law went into effect on December 15, 2016, and the state's recreational-use market officially began sales on November 20, 2018. The state passed medical marijuana in 2012 under Question 3, the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative.


In November of 2012, 63 percent of voters endorsed Question 4, making Massachusetts the eighteenth state in the country to allow medical marijuana use. Under the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative, which went into effect in 2013, qualifying patients eighteen (18) years of age or older with certain debilitating medical conditions can possess up to a sixty (60) day supply of medical cannabis, which the state has set at ten (10) ounces.

Under Massachusetts' new recreational cannabis laws, adults twenty-one (21) years of age or older are allowed to possess up to one (1) ounce of marijuana or five (5) grams of concentrate outside of their residence and up to ten (10) ounces of marijuana inside their residence.

Purchasing Limits

The amount of medical marijuana a patient may purchase in Massachusetts is currently limited to a sixty (60) day supply of up to ten (10) ounces from a dispensary with each prescription. Patients might be able to purchase more if their doctor deems it medically necessary. Adults twenty-one (21) years of age or older with a valid, government-issued ID are able to purchase up to one (1) ounce of marijuana or five (5) grams of concentrate. Where to Buy

Store Hours

Individual cities are free to regulate the hours of Massachusetts marijuana dispensaries, so times will vary. Check out our Massachusetts dispensary directory for more store information.


Although medical and recreational cannabis are both legal in Massachusetts, it is still illegal to consume in public. This includes public transportation, parks, schools, sidewalks and more. At this point in time, legal cannabis consumption is limited to private residences or social lounges only.

Medical Marijuana

In order to register as a medical marijuana patient in Massachusetts, you must first obtain a physician certification stating that you have a qualifying condition that may benefit from the use of cannabis. The state accepts the following as qualifying conditions:

  • AIDS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancer
  • Crohn's disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Other debilitating conditions as determined in writing by your doctor

Patients also need to register with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program to receive an ID card authorizing the use of medical marijuana. There is no fee for registering with the Massachusetts medical marijuana program. A physician may still charge for the examination visit, but there is no additional fee that must be paid to the state.

Once approved, patients will need to have their Program ID Card and a state-issued photo ID to possess or purchase medical marijuana legally. Once a patient's certification and registration are in order, they are allowed to possess a sixty (60)day supply of marijuana, or up to ten (10) ounces, unless a doctor determines their condition warrants greater amounts. Get Your Card

Driving under the Influence

Driving under the influence of marijuana in Massachusetts will result in an OUI (operating under the influence) charge, a misdemeanor for a first offense. While some states require a minimum amount of marijuana to be in your system to prove impairment, Massachusetts has no such minimum. Instead, a determination of impairment is made on a case-by-case basis. If you're convicted of an OUI, penalties range from hefty fines, license suspension, jail time and more.

Transporting Marijuana

Unless you are an adult twenty-one (21) years of age or older, registered medical marijuana patient, caregiver or an agent of a registered marijuana dispensary, transporting marijuana in Massachusetts is illegal. Patients with valid medicinal marijuana ID cards are allowed to carry as much marijuana as their doctor prescribes for a sixty (60) day supply. As stated above, that limit is ten (10) ounces unless a patient's doctor prescribes otherwise.

Registered 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. Additionally, agents of dispensaries are allowed to transport marijuana to other dispensaries, testing facilities, and to the homes of caregivers and registered patients.

Adults twenty-one (21) years of age or older are allowed to carry and transport up to their legal limit of one (1) ounce of marijuana or five (5) grams of marijuana concentrate.

Exporting Marijuana

Even though medical and recreational marijuana are both legal in Massachusetts, marijuana is still an illegal controlled substance under federal law. It is illegal to transport cannabis of any kind across state lines, even between states with legalized cannabis.

Federal Land and Properties in Massachusetts

Again, although Massachusetts allows medical and recreational marijuana, the federal government does not. That means you could be charged with a federal crime if you're caught with marijuana on federal lands, including parks, forests, and monuments. Your medical marijuana registration card won't do you any good with federal law enforcement, so if you're visiting federal lands, keep your cannabis at home.


Massachusetts' medical marijuana law allows both registered patients and caregivers to cultivate cannabis. Adults twenty-one (21) years of age or older are allowed to grow up to six (6) plants in their residence with a maximum of twelve (12) plants per household. Medical patients may also apply for Hardship Cultivation, allowing them to grow whatever is necessary for their sixty (60) day supply (typically ten (10) ounces, but possibly more if a physician recommends it).  Learn to Grow


Massachusetts permits medical cannabis delivery. Recreational cannabis delivery is not currently allowed.Find Delivery


Massachusetts does not offer reciprocity to medical card holders from other states. Visiting medical patients may still purchase and posses up to one (1) ounce of recreational marijuana.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is not meant to serve as legal advice and is for informational purposes only. Laws and regulations are always changing. Therefore, if you have any legal questions regarding Massachusetts’ marijuana laws you must consult with a licensed Massachusetts attorney.

Expert Reviewer

Stephanie Bagnall, J.D. Stephanie Bagnall, J.D.

Stephanie Bagnall is a legal research and writing expert who supports nonprofits, law firms and other organizations in a wide variety of industries all over the country. She is also a passionate advocate for civil rights and people with disabilities.

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