Massachusetts Legal Information

In 2012, 63% of Massachusetts voters approved Question 3, “An Initiative Petition for a Law for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana,” establishing legal protection for medical cannabis patients, caregivers, physicians and medical professionals, cultivators, and providers. Registered patients and their designated caregivers may possess up to a 60-day supply of usable cannabis, defined as 10 ounces. Some protections for patients began January 1, 2013 including limited rights to cultivate their own medicine.

In 2014, the Department of Health (DPH) began issuing ID cards for patients and granting licenses for dispensaries. “Registered marijuana dispensaries” are licensed to both grow and sell medical cannabis and are required to provide medicine at discounted rates for low-income residents. DPH issues hardship cultivation licenses to patients who can demonstrate hardship qualifications.

As of December 2016, DPH has issued 15 licenses and six dispensaries are serving patients. In 2016, DPH announced it will be accepting applications for dispensaries on a rolling basis. 


In This Section

Massachusetts Landmark Legal Rulings

Comm. v. Cruz, 459 Mass. 459 (2011) Comm. v. Keefner, 461 Mass. 507 (2012) Comm. v. Rodriguez, 472 Mass. 767 (2015)

Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Law & Regulations

On November 6, 2012, the voters of Massachusetts approved Question 3, “An Initiative Petition for a Law for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana,” by 63 percent establishing legal protection for medical cannabis patients, caregivers, physicians and medical professionals, cultivators, and providers, some of which went into effect as of January 1, 2013.

Facing state or federal charges?

Unfortunately, patients, caregivers, and providers are still vulnerable to federal and state arrests, prosecutions, and incarceration. They also suffer pervasive discrimination in employment, child custody, housing, public accommodation, education and medical care.

Becoming a Patient in Massachusetts

Massachusetts voters in November 2012 established legal protection for medical cannabis patients, caregivers, physicians and medical professionals, cultivators, and providers, some of which went into effect as of January 1, 2013.

Recommending Cannabis in Massachusetts

Certifying physicians recommending medical marijuana must have (1) an active Massachusetts medical license issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, with (2) no prescribing restrictions, (3) a Massachusetts Controlled Substances Registration (MCSR), and (4) at least one established place of practice in Massachusetts.

Becoming a Caregiver, Producer or Provider in Massachusetts

Every state has varying laws and regulations for caregivers, cultivators and medical cannabis providers. This section includes an overview of state requirements and links to necessary forms and applications.