Open a Dispensary in Massachusetts

Summary of Marijuana Laws

Medical Use


The Medical Use of Marijuana Program registers qualifying patients, personal caregivers, Registered Marijuana Dispensaries (RMD), and RMD agents.


The Program was established by Chapter 369 of the Acts of 2012, “An Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana,” following the passage of Ballot Question 3 in the 2012 general election.


Adult Use


The 2016 ballot petition known as “Question 4” became Chapter 334 of the Acts of 2016. It created General Laws Chapter 94G which governs the adult use (commonly known as recreational use) of marijuana and creates the Cannabis Control Commission. Amendments were introduced in 2017.


The Cannabis Control Commision is currently accepting adult use marijuana establishment license applications on a rolling basis and has issued the first provisional license.


According to a 2016 report by Arcview Market Research, the legal marijuana market in Massachusetts is estimated to reach $1.07 billion by 2020.


Five types of adult use commercial marijuana licenses available:


  • Retail,
  • Manufacturer,
  • Cultivator,
  • Craft marijuana cultivator cooperative, and
  • Independent testing laboratory licenses.

Local approval is required in order to operate in MA. Local approval processes vary by jurisdiction. Many cities and counties have exercised their right to ban commercial marijuana entities altogether. The processes and procedures for gaining local approval vary by jurisdiction.


Content updated July 19, 2018.