Marijuana in Massachusetts

Medical Marijuana

  • 2-month supply.
  • Physician permission.
  • Non-profit marijuana treatment centers.

Criminal Penalties


1 oz or less: Civil offense -- $100 fine

> 1 oz: Misdemeanor – 6 mo to 2 years

Intent to Distribute

< 50lbs: Unclassified – up to 2.5 years

> 50lbs: Felony – 1 to 15 years

Distribution or Cultivation

< 50lbs: Unclassified – up to 2.5 years

> 50lbs: Felony – 1 to 15 years

The Massachusetts medical marijuana law, Ballot Question 3, passed in 2012 with 63 percent of the vote. It permits a 60-day supply for medical use, with specifics and logistics to be established by the Commonwealth.

By 2014, the Department of Public Health is required to issue registration for up to 35 nonprofit medical marijuana treatment centers. The measure calls for at least one treatment center in each county and limits to 5 the maximum number of treatment centers in any county.

Permitted medical conditions include glaucoma, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and cancer. Medical marijuana is also permitted for the treatment of other medical conditions, as determined by a physician.

In mid-2013, specifics on cultivation and possession limitations had yet to be finalized. Though the Department of Public Health issued draft regulations at the end of March.

Municipal Dispensary Restrictions a Massachusetts Issue

Attorney General Martha M. Coakley has also ruled that Massachusetts cities and towns cannot ban local dispensaries for medical marijuana. That ruling was in response to a move by Wakefield to enact a local ban on dispensaries. Our Los Angeles medical marijuana attorneys continue to battle local municipal and county bans because California law permits local restrictions. The Massachusetts Municipal Association contends the ruling still provides plenty of room for local governments to challenge dispensaries based on location and other factors.

Hingham established a moratorium on all decisions related to the medical marijuana question following passage of the issue in November and the moratorium was still in place as the state issued regulations in April 2013.

In each state where medical marijuana has been legalized, it has been incumbent upon patients, caregivers and dispensaries to obtain experienced legal counsel when asserting their rights. Medical marijuana has been legalized in Massachusetts by a vote of two-thirds of its residents, yet we already see bureaucratic delay and the institution of complex regulation.

Massachusetts Medical Marijuana News Archive

Massachusetts medical marijuana dispensaries may open this summer, Berkshire Eagle, March 15, 2013.

Medical marijuana industry eyes Massachusetts market, Martha’s Vineyard Times, March 6, 2012.

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