Bristol County Cannabis Overview

  1. Massachusetts Cannabis
  2. Bristol County Cannabis

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Bristol County?

Yes. Medical marijuana became legal in Massachusetts as 60% of its voting population approved Question 3 on the 2012 ballot. Four years later, 52% of its voting population also voted “YES” to Question 4, legalizing the use of recreational marijuana. In Bristol County, Questions 3 and 4 were both approved by the majority of its voting residents. Although recreational marijuana is now permitted in the state, the following Bristol County cities still impose an adult-use ban: Raynham, Acushnet, Westport, and Easton.

Alongside the legalization of recreational marijuana is the establishment of the Cannabis Control Commission. Although this commission supervises the processes involved, from the cultivation to the distribution of marijuana, local governments are still given the authority to implement ordinances that will ensure safety in the operation of cannabis establishments.

Both indoor and outdoor cultivation of marijuana is legal in the state. Licensed marijuana cultivators are allowed by the commission to cultivate, process, package, and transfer marijuana to other establishments but not to consumers. Licensing fees depend on the location and size of the area, however, outdoor application fees are cheaper in general. The list of cultivators in Bristol County may be found here.

The commission sets several considerations for marijuana cultivation. In general, individuals who wish to cultivate should be at least 21 years old. Adequate security measures are required for outdoor cultivation to ensure that it will not be easily accessible to unauthorized people. The location should also be equipped with a lock or other security measures for home cultivation. A maximum of six plants may be cultivated. However, if there is more than one adult (aged 21 years or older) living in the residence, a maximum of 12 plants is permitted. Registered patients of the Medical Use of Marijuana Program Online System are given the exemption to cultivate enough supply for their 60-day use or 10 ounces of usable marijuana.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Bristol County?

Yes. A marijuana product manufacturer is an establishment licensed by the commission to obtain, manufacture, process, package, and transfer marijuana products to other establishments but not to consumers. In general, the following procedure should be followed to become a licensed manufacturer in the state:

  • Research the regulations governing marijuana use
  • Develop the business’ operational plans
  • Collect the information of the people who will be listed on the license
  • Conduct a community outreach meeting
  • Submit the application and fees online
  • Wait for the approval, which can last for 90 days
  • Conduct final inspection before opening

Aside from acquiring a license and following the general operational requirements under 935 CMR 500.105 and 935 CMR 500.110, marijuana product manufacturers are also required to comply with specific operational requirements under 935 CMR 500.130:

  • Production of edibles should comply with the sanitation and food handler requirements.
  • The packaging and labels of marijuana products resembling any food or beverage should comply with 935 CMR 500.105(5) and (6).
  • Adhere to all relevant environmental laws, regulations, permits, and other approvals.
  • Document compliance to testing requirements and standards set by the commission.
  • Keep records of applicable written rules and procedures relating to the manufacture or distribution of marijuana products.
  • Provide details of its products in their Product Database.
  • Identify the method of extraction.
  • Provide vendor samples and quality control samples.

Obtaining a Marijuana Product Manufacturing license will cost $1,500, while the annual fee is $10,000. As of July 2022, 87% of marijuana product manufacturer license applications have been approved in the state. In Bristol County, at least six establishments have been granted the manufacturing license.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Bristol County?

Yes. Marijuana Retailers and Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MTC) exist in Bristol County except in Freetown, where retail and delivery of marijuana are banned. Marijuana retailers have the legal right to buy marijuana products from marijuana establishments, repackage them, give them a white label, and move them to other establishments where they can be sold to customers. On the other hand, MTCs may purchase, grow, process, repackage, transport, sell, distribute, deliver, dispense, or administer marijuana to Registered Qualifying Patients or their Personal Caregivers for medical use. For MTCs to dispense medical marijuana, a registered patient should be able to present their program ID card.

The Cannabis Control Commission offers this website to help find the nearest licensed marijuana retailer or MTC from a customer’s location. These licensed retailers offer marijuana products, including flowers, chew, sauce, pre-rolls, vaporizers, concentrates, edibles, tinctures, and topicals. As of July 2022, marijuana buds lead as the top product sold in the state, as reported by the Cannabis Control Commission. As a reminder, only those at least 21 years old and registered patients of the medical use of marijuana program are allowed to consume marijuana. Using any form of marijuana in public places or on government property is prohibited as well.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Bristol County?

Yes. Marijuana couriers are licensed by the Cannabis Control Commission to distribute medical marijuana from MTCs to patients with Medical Marijuana Card and their caregivers. They are also allowed to distribute recreational marijuana to adults 21 and older. Although the majority of the cities in Bristol County permit medical and recreational marijuana delivery, Raynham, Acushnet, Westport, and Easton still do not allow delivery as of June 2022. Currently, only Taunton City has licensed establishments that offer marijuana delivery to their residents. Most licensed marijuana establishments in other cities are cultivators, manufacturers, retailers, and MTCs.

The state only allows a total of one ounce of marijuana or its equivalent combined dry weight delivered daily. Customers must be above 21 to receive the delivered marijuana and other marijuana-related products. The delivery person will pre-verify consumers by having them provide a government-issued ID that will be used for delivery before completing the order.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Bristol County

Registering as a new patient in Massachusetts to acquire a Medical Marijuana Card may be done by following these steps:

  • Get a certification from a Certifying Health Care Provider. Patients with qualifying medical conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other debilitating conditions may be certified.
  • Have a valid ID to confirm that you are a Massachusetts resident.
  • Get a passport-style photo which will be placed on the card.
  • Apply online by visiting this page: https://www.massciportal.com/login-register

Registering in the program is free, although Certifying Health Care Providers may ask for a fee. A $10 replacement fee for a lost, stolen, or destroyed Medical Marijuana Card will be required. For inquiries or if unable to register online, a paper registration form is available for qualified patients by calling (833) 869-6820. The commission may also be reached from Monday to Friday (10:00 AM to 3:00 PM) with the same landline or through Commission@CCCMass.com.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Bristol County?

Although medical marijuana is tax-free in Massachusetts, recreational marijuana is imposed with a 6.25% state sales tax, 10.75% state excise tax, and up to 3% optional local tax as it was legalized in 2016. Two years later, Massachusetts opened its first two legal marijuana retail stores in the East Cost. Based on the Massachusetts Department of Health’s report in 2019, marijuana sales were expected to boost state income by around $215.8 million in the first two years, as shown by economic projections. The imposition of a tax on adult use of marijuana is seen as a significant contribution to the state’s growing economy. However, there were no marijuana sales in 2020 due to the mandatory shutdown of retailers in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. True enough to the projections, $1,331,246,109 in revenue was recorded as 194 marijuana retailers operated in 2021.

The Commission provides the public with a summary of the sales and product distribution of marijuana in the state. As of May 2022, a total of 216 Marijuana Retailers and 11 delivery businesses operate statewide. The Cannabis Control Commission has reported the gross sales of these establishments at $3,001,846,490, further surpassing the $2 billion reported gross sales in August 2021. These sales numbers demonstrate the consistent rise Massachusetts residents anticipated when they chose to legalize cannabis for adult use in 2016.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Bristol County

Legalizing the medical and recreational use of marijuana in Massachusetts means that more residents are able to possess and use marijuana. In fact, marijuana use in the state started to increase in 2012, even before the legalization of recreational use.

According to the FBI Crime Data Explorer, data trends about driving under the influence (DUI), marijuana possession, and marijuana sale offenses varied. Comparing 2016 and 2020, DUI decreased from 408 to 262, possession grew from eight to 22, and sale offenses decreased from nine to eight. Although there was an increase in the reported cases of marijuana possession, the crime rate in Bristol County is still said to be at 17.53 per 1,000 residents, which is lower than the U.S. average of 22.7. This means that the likelihood of a person being a victim of crime can range from 1 in 35 in the southeast areas or 1 in 95 in the east part of the county.

Bristol County Cannabis