Marijuana Laws and Policies in Massachusetts
One of the main influencers of the cultural lifestyle in the state of Massachusetts is definitely cannabis and its different uses. While it was the very first US state to actually criminalize and ban cannabis production and distribution in its area, things aren’t as dim as they used to be. In fact, after long years of trying to lessen and reduce the criminal infractions related to marijuana, the Bay State faw it fit to actually legalize both medical and adult use of cannabis!
As a place that is known widely for its technological advancements in agriculture, it isn’t hard to imagine cannabis playing a major role in the culture found there. In recent years, Massachusetts has taken brave steps forward in order to reach the status of cannabis that it has today. Today, with a lively culture and economy that has benefited greatly from the circulation of weed industries, expect a whole lot more from the Old Colony State!
History of Cannabis in Massachusetts
It was through grit and relentless efforts that the state of Massachusetts was finally able to bring cannabis into its territory. It was not until November 2012, however, when the reforms and amendments started to actually materialize into something significant. During this time, the state’s first ever Medical Marijuana Initiative was presented in the ballot that residents were given. By way of voting, this policy was effectively approved, thus paving the way for medical marijuana legalization in the state.
The guidelines and rules that were enumerated in the said bill looked to establish the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Program. This aimed to provide certain people who were diagnosed with conditions and illnesses to make use of marijuana as a means of treatment.
Legalization of recreational cannabis:
Four years later, a subsequent policy called the Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Act was also presented in the voting ballot of that year. As it was also able to garner the required amount of votes, the policy was deemed approved. As a result, the utilization of recreational and adult-use cannabis was officially made legal in the state of Massachusetts.
All the laws regulating the operations and undertakings of the recreational cannabis activities were enumerated under House Bill 3818 in July of 2017. This became part of Chapter 55 under General Laws of Massachusetts.
Cannabis Regulation Body
In order to effectively maintain the use and controlled consumption of medical marijuana in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) was tasked with regulating all activities relating to the Medical Use of Marijuana Program (MMP). This includes overseeing the application and registration process for patients and caregivers.
The Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative also gave rise to the Cannabis Control Commission. This authority was responsible for regulating marijuana at a state-wide level. The licensing of cultivation and distribution centers as well as the consumption of recreational marijuana all fall under the Commission’s jurisdiction.
The Medical Use of Marijuana Program (MMP) was approved by more than 60% of Massachusetts’ voting population. Under this law, qualifying patients in the state are permitted to make use of cannabis. First, they will need to attain a written recommendation from a licensed physician. This entitles them to be able to purchase medical supplies of weed.
Afterwards, registering with the Department of Public Health will grant both patients and caregivers the status of such. With their medical marijuana IDs, they will be able to purchase supplies from state-mandated dispensaries.
From a medical standpoint, patients and their caregivers are permitted to cultivate their own cannabis plants for supply if obtaining them from a dispensary proves to be “difficult” or “impractical”. This is mainly caused by the physical inability to personally purchase cannabis or because of the far distance between their homes and the nearest dispensary.
Listed below are certain conditions that are most commonly diagnosed conditions that medical marijuana patients have: AIDS or HIV, cancer symptoms (including chemotherapy and radiation exposure), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), glaucoma, HCV, multiple sclerosis, and other brain disorders.
Legal Age, Purchasing, and Possession of Cannabis
Residents of Massachusetts who are at least 21 years old and above are permitted to carry, cultivate, and use marijuana for adult and recreational use. As for medical patients, they must be at least 18 years old in order to qualify for the Medical Use of Marijuana Program.
Caregivers must be at least 21 year of age in order to qualify for the job. Unlike many other states, only one caregiver is allowed per patient. Patients who are younger than 18 years old must have their parents or guardians act as their primary caregivers. However, a secondary caregiver who is licensed by the DPH is allowed to act in such capacity.
Purchasing locations and possession limits:
There are many different government-mandated cannabis dispensaries for both medical and recreational supplies of weed. All users must obtain their weed seeds and consumable marijuana products from these licensed distributors only. Medical marijuana is tax-exempt whereas recreational marijuana products are subject to a cumulative tax rate of 20% (inclusive of sales, excise, and local taxes)
Adult-use cannabis is often subject to a specific limit which residents who are of the legal age may carry out in public. The maximum possession and purchasing limit for recreational users is 1 ounce (28.35 grams) of dried cannabis buds and up to 5 grams of cannabis concentrates. Additionally, residents are allowed to keep up to 10 ounce (283.50 grams) of cannabis in their homes.
Medical marijuana limits, on the other hand, are much more subjective. Patients or their caregivers are allowed to purchase and possess an amount that is equal to a 60-day supply. This amount is often determined by the licensed physician who recommends medical marijuana for their diagnosis.
Consumption and Cultivation of Cannabis
Despite being fully legal to purchase and cultivate, it is still very much illegal in Massachusetts to consume marijuana out in public. Any sidewalks or government-owned lands are no-smoking areas that should be kept tobacco and cannabis-free. Public vehicles, parks, recreation centers, schools, and other public areas with crowds should always be kept away from marijuana consumption.
There are currently no marijuana smoking cafes or social lounges available in Massachusetts. As such, the only permitted smoking areas for weed are private homes or privately-owned lands.
As we have stated above, cannabis cultivation is allowed for medical patients who experience difficulty in obtaining marijuana supplies directly from the licensed dispensaries. In such cases, these patients or their caregivers may be allowed to cultivate cannabis plants within a certain limit. This limit depends on what the attending physician deems as adequate for a 60-day supply.
Last 2016, lawmakers provided in the rules that adult users of cannabis are permitted to grow up to six (6) cannabis plants per household. If two or more adults reside therein, this limit increases up to twelve (12) plants per household.
The state of Massachusetts is a great spot that offers access to cannabis for whatever purpose you choose. With a widely accepting community and very lenient laws, it is easy to have a good time with weed in this state!
Of course, all cannabis activities must be done within the constraints of the law. Make sure that you are well equipped with the right knowledge about the cannabis rules and regulations of Massachusetts!