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History of Massachusetts cannabis policy

Massachusetts was the very first U.S. state to restrict cannabis use —over 100 years later, in 2013, it became the 18th state to legalize medical cannabis. And in 2016, Massachusetts also legalized recreational cannabis, becoming the first New England state to legalize adult-use cannabis. The state’s regulated marketplace officially opened for business in 2018, which ultimately put pressure on other New England states to pass their own adult-use cannabis reforms (the majority of which have since done exactly that).

Industry overview

The Massachusetts cannabis industry is overseen by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission. Adult-use cannabis carries a 10.75% excise tax as well as the state’s standard 6.25% sales tax; there is also an optional local tax of up to 3%, for a total tax rate of 17%-20%. But while cannabis possession and cultivation have been legalized statewide, more than 100 towns and municipalities have passed bans on licensed retailers and other industry operators.

Cannabis possession & purchasing rules

  • Adults aged 21+ in Massachusetts can possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower or five grams of concentrate on their person.
  • Adults can store up to 10 ounces in a secure/locked place at home.
  • Anyone 21 or older can also purchase cannabis products from licensed retailers. Purchases are limited to one ounce of flower or five grams of concentrate.
  • Adult residents of Massachusetts can grow up to six cannabis plants at home with a max of 12 per household.

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