Cannabis cultivation is legal in Middlesex County for both recreational and medicinal purposes. Persons cultivating cannabis at home in Middlesex County must be aged 21 or older. Under the Massachusetts regulations for home cultivation of cannabis, any adult can grow a maximum of 6 cannabis plants at home. Regardless of the number of adults living in a residential unit, no more than 12 cannabis plants may be cultivated at home. Registered qualifying patients under the medical use of marijuana program are permitted to cultivate enough marijuana to yield a 60-day supply for medical use.
Massachusetts regulations on cannabis cultivation at home require that cannabis plants be cultivated in areas with lock and security devices. The cultivation areas must not be visible from public places without the use of aircraft, binoculars, or other visual aids. Commercial entities may cultivate cannabis outdoors, provided they have obtained valid cannabis cultivation licenses.
Note that Massachusetts permits its municipalities to establish and enforce ordinances restricting certain cannabis activities. For instance, in the Town of Chelmsford, all types of non-medical marijuana establishments are prohibited from operating within the municipality’s borders. Hence, no commercial recreational cannabis cultivation operation may occur in the town.
Cannabis manufacturing for recreational and medical purposes is legal in Middlesex County. Cannabis manufacture is defined as the compounding, blending, extraction, infusing, or making or preparing of a cannabis product. Per cannabis manufacturing regulations in Massachusetts, manufacturing batch numbers must be included on the labels of all products to facilitate product recalls and tracking.
Marijuana product manufacturers in Middlesex County are required to meet all relevant environmental regulations, permits, and other applicable approvals. These permits and approvals include those related to water quality and quantity, wastewater, solid and hazardous waste management, air pollution control, and noise and odor mitigation. Cannabis manufacturing establishments and all other cannabis establishments in Massachusetts must comply with the security regulations for marijuana establishments.
Cannabis retail is legal in Middlesex County. Adults aged 21 or older may legally purchase marijuana in Middlesex County. Per 935 CMR 500, a cannabis retail business must inspect the customer’s proof of identification to verify the age of the individual before initiating transaction. An individual may not be allowed into the premises of a retail establishment unless their age has been verified to be 21 or older.
Marijuana retailers in Middlesex County are prohibited from selling marijuana products containing nicotine in accordance with 935 CMR 500. A marijuana retailer may also not sell marijuana products containing alcohol if such a sale would require a license under M.G.L. c. 138. The 935 CMR 500.100 regulation also stipulates that no cannabis dispensary may be located within 500 feet of a school.
Cannabis delivery is legal in Middlesex County municipalities that permit adult-use retail stores to operate or have notified the Cannabis Control Commission that cannabis deliveries may be made within their borders. Per the Massachusetts’ adult use of marijuana regulations, a cannabis customer who intends to receive deliveries of cannabis products must pre-register with a recreational cannabis store or medical marijuana dispensary. Delivery operators must also comply with the labeling, inventory, warehousing, and sales rules in the Massachusetts' adult use of marijuana regulations.
Home deliveries of recreational cannabis products commenced in Massachusetts in 2021 with licensed couriers and delivery operators. Also, existing marijuana operators who obtained delivery endorsements were authorized to deliver cannabis to consumers.
Massachusetts rules require a cannabis delivery vehicle to be staffed with a minimum of two employees equipped with a GPS tracker, a secure storage area, and other safeguards. Customers must present photo identifications for verification before orders are delivered, and transactions are required to be recorded on employee body cameras. Cannabis delivery services must only drop off orders between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. unless extended delivery hours are explicitly permitted by local ordinances. Cannabis deliveries are not allowed to certain places, such as hotels, college dormitories, and federally funded housing units.
Cannabis consumers in Middlesex County may use a municipal zoning tracker tool created by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission to identify adult-use marijuana bylaws and delivery status for different cities and towns in the state.
Massachusetts's medical marijuana (MMJ) card is an identification card permitting the cardholder to obtain and use up to a 60-day supply of medical marijuana. To be eligible to obtain an MMJ card in Middlesex County, the applicant must be aged 18 or older or designate a caregiver aged 21 or older if the applicant is a minor. Massachusetts also requires MMJ card applicants to have been diagnosed with one or more approved debilitating medical conditions. These conditions include:
The first step in obtaining an MMJ card in Middlesex County is to obtain a certification from a qualified healthcare provider. After obtaining a certification from the physician, the applicant will receive an email from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) containing the applicant's PIN number and instructions for registering with the state's medical use of marijuana program.
During the application, the applicant will be required to provide the following:
An application for an MMJ card may be completed online or by mail. Typically, online registration via the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Online System is more convenient and faster. To apply for an MMJ card online, follow the link in the electronic mail sent by the CCC upon receiving the medical marijuana certification. First-time registrants will be required to create an account using the Virtual Gateway.
Applicants who prefer paper applications are advised to call the medical use of marijuana program at (833) 869-6820 to request paper registration forms. Completed applications must be mailed to:
Cannabis Control Commission
2 Washington Square
Worcester, MA 01604
For a step-by-step guide on uploading the required documents on the application system, review the medical marijuana patient guide published online. For more information on obtaining medical marijuana cards, contact the state’s medical use of marijuana program at (833) 869-6820 or send a mail to MedicalMarijuana@State.MA.US.
The cannabis industry in Massachusetts has been a strong contributor to the state's economy via the creation of thousands of jobs and revenues generated via tax imposed on cannabis sales. According to figures obtained from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, cannabis retailers in the state reported $2.87 billion in sales between November 5, 2018, and April 10, 2022. In 2021, revenue generated from marijuana sales in the state exceeded $112 million. According to the CCC, this figure is more than double the projected estimate.
According to statistics from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, the state collected over $74 million in marijuana excise tax for the fiscal year 2022 as of December 2021. In that month, the tax revenue from alcohol was only $51.3 million. The revenue generated from marijuana exceeded that from alcohol for the first time in the fiscal year 2021. In the fiscal year 2021, Massachusetts collected $92.7 million from alcohol while excise tax on marijuana fetched the state $112.4 million.
In the 2020 fiscal year, Massachusetts generated $51.7 million in revenue from the cannabis market via excise tax. Note that the state levies a 10.25% excise tax on marijuana purchases in addition to the local tax imposed by municipalities, which may be up to 3%, and the state's 6.25% sales tax.
DUI arrest rates have declined in Massachusetts, according to statistics obtained via the FBI UCR system. The state recorded 10,240 DUI arrests, 403 marijuana possession arrests, and 687 marijuana sales arrests in 2016. In 2017, the record was 9.080 DUI arrests, 233 marijuana possession arrests, and 456 marijuana sales arrests. In 2018, DUI arrests rates and marijuana possession rates declined further, with Massachusetts recording 8,671 DUI arrests and 185 marijuana possession arrests. In that year, marijuana sales arrests slightly decreased, with only 450 arrests recorded.
Massachusetts experienced increased marijuana-related crime rates in 2019 for DUI, marijuana possession, and marijuana sales as the figures for these offenses shot up from the previous year. In that year, there were 10,121 arrests for DUI offenses, 213 arrests for marijuana possession, and 456 arrests for marijuana sales. In 2020, the state recorded lower arrest rates for all three offenses. DUI arrest figures dropped to 6,687, marijuana possession arrests were down to 132, and arrests for marijuana sales fell to 234.