Understanding Massachusetts Law Regarding Recreational Cannabis Intake

30 November, 2022
Understanding Massachusetts Law Regarding Recreational Cannabis Intake

Do you live in Massachusetts? Are you thinking of moving to the state? Perhaps you're planning a trip there. Whichever best describes your relationship with the Bay State, there's probably one big question on your mind: "What is the Massachusetts law regarding recreational cannabis intake?" Well, the short answer is that it is legal, and if you are a current resident, you likely know that much. But perhaps you're interested in trying a cannabis product and have never done so before. Knowing that recreational cannabis consumption is legal is only part of it. It's important to understand the rules so that you can enjoy safely and legally. This is what you need to know about recreational cannabis consumption in Massachusetts.

A Little History

Massachusetts is a good state to live in, because cannabis is not only legal for medical use, but it's also legal to consume recreationally. It all began when the plant received the vote for medicinal purposes in 2012. Then four years later, it was legalized for individuals 21 and up. Next, the Cannabis Control Commission was formed to provide a body of regulation in Massachusetts, and in 2018, cannabis was finally available to purchase from retail providers.


Medical Cannabis 

If you are suffering from glaucoma, Crohn's disease, ALS, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, or cancer, you are eligible to receive medical cannabis. You may also qualify if your doctor has diagnosed you with any other debilitating condition. If you believe you are eligible, schedule an appointment with your doctor to be certified. Once that's done, you can submit your certification to the Medical Use of Marijuana Program to register for your medical card. Don't worry, registration is free of charge. You must have it renewed every year, though the card itself lasts three years. Don't forget to have your doctor actively certify your condition to maintain eligibility.

Medical patients are able to buy 60 days worth of products, and they don't have to pay tax on their purchases. These consumers are free to shop whichever state-licensed dispensary they'd like, but the amount they buy cannot exceed 10 ounces per 60 days. If a patient is unable to commute to a dispensary for their products, they can either send a caregiver to pick up their cannabis or have it delivered through a special service.


Purchasing and Possessing Cannabis

Recreational consumers who are at least 21 are allowed to buy an ounce of cannabis per visit. If they are shopping for concentrates, they may purchase up to 5 grams. Dispensary employees will ensure your entire order remains within the legal limit, so you don't have to worry about walking out the door with too many items. There's the standard 6.25% sales tax on cannabis products, along with an additional 10.75% excise tax. Cities in Massachusetts have the option to include another 3% municipal tax if they choose.

Patients and recreational consumers may have up to 10 ounces in their homes, but they can only carry an ounce while out in public areas. You are free to consume at your leisure in private property settings, but be aware that public cannabis consumption is still illegal. It is legal, however, to transport cannabis in your car, though it must be kept in a sealed container and locked away either in a glove box or trunk. But don't let that give you any funny ideas about driving after consuming; whether you're in the driver's seat or riding shotgun, you are not allowed to partake in cannabis consumption inside a motor vehicle. If you are caught consuming in public, you could be fined $100, or $500 if an open container of cannabis is found in your car.


Growing Cannabis

Interested in growing? Then you're in the right state. As long as you're 21, you can grow your own cannabis plants. The limit is six per individual or 12 for a residence with at least two adults. And even more good news — what you grow won't be factored into your 10-ounce limit! So you can continue to experiment with cultivation while keeping a full stock of products in your home. 

Patients will want to apply for a hardship registration in order to grow their own plants. Those who qualify may grow as much as necessary to yield a 60-day supply.


For Out-of-State Consumers

Don't live in Massachusetts but planning a visit? No problem! As long as you have a government-issued photo ID, you can purchase cannabis products in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, visiting patients may not purchase cannabis in Massachusetts for medical purposes.

In the Bay State, sharing is caring. You can give a buddy an ounce of product as long as that person is over 18 years old. This is helpful to know because if you purchase more than you can consume during your trip, you'll have to leave it behind. It's illegal to carry into the airport and it's also illegal to ship, even when mailing to a place where cannabis consumption has been legalized. If you have leftover products when it's time to go, your best bet is to leave friends with one ounce each. 

So there you go! Now, if you are a Massachusetts resident looking to try cannabis, you know how to do so safely. If you're a prospective resident, you have yet another reason to move to Massachusetts. And if you're visiting the state, you know how to enjoy products without putting a damper on your trip!