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Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Law & Regulations
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.
Question 3 (2012) - “An Initiative Petition for a Law for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana,” established legal protection for medical cannabis patients, caregivers, physicians and medical professionals, cultivators, and providers.
Note Regarding Recreational Marijuana
On December 15, 2016, The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act as enacted by the vote of the people of Massachusetts became effective and made legal personal use, possession of up to 10 ounces, and cultivation of up to 6 plants per person. The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act did not alter the medical marijuana framework described in this manual. The text of The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act can be found at https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2016/Chapter334.
Landmark Legal Rulings
"[T]here was no basis on which the police could order the defendant out of the vehicle without at least some other additional fact beyond the mere odor of burnt marijuana... in light of the enactment of G. L. c. 94C, §§ 32L-32N, which decriminalized possession of less than one ounce of marijuana."
The law which "decriminalized possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, did not repeal the offense of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, in violation of G. L. c.94C, § 32C (a), where the amount of marijuana possessed is one ounce or less."
The mere odor of burnt marijuana is insufficient cause to stop a motor vehicle.