It is legal to cultivate cannabis for medical and recreational purposes in the state of Massachusetts, including Plymouth County.
In 2008, after a statewide vote, Massachusetts decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis. In all cities of Plymouth County, residents voted for it. On January 1, 2013, the Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana in Massachusetts, also known as Chapter 369, took effect. On July 28, 2017, Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) Chapter 94G legalized adult recreational use of marijuana. Municipalities are allowed to create their own local regulations regarding marijuana businesses provided these do not conflict with the state law.
A single marijuana cultivator entrepreneur, marijuana cultivator microbusiness, craft marijuana cooperative made up of several cultivators, or Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MTC) must apply for a license to grow marijuana with the Cannabis Control Commission.
According to Chapter 369, all licensed marijuana cultivation in Massachusetts, whether indoors or outdoors, must be enclosed by a high perimeter fence and not be visible to public view except from aircraft or through the use of binoculars. Security measures must be tight to prevent unauthorized entry. The facility must be more than 500 feet away from a pre-existing private or public school with students from kindergarten to grade 12.
The maximum allowable canopy of mature cannabis plants for a single cultivation license is 100,000 square feet. If the plants are shelved, the surface area of each shelf counts in the canopy measurement.
The Plymouth County zoning by-law only allows marijuana cultivators in Light Industrial Districts. The facility for the cultivation of cannabis must be 500 feet or more away from any school, public or private. It can have only one identification sign. Marijuana cultivators are required to provide adequate security for the facility.
In addition to business establishments, registered patients and adult consumers aged 21 and older are allowed to cultivate marijuana at home for personal use in Massachusetts. If registered patients and adult consumers are renting their accommodations, though, their landlords have the legal right to disallow cannabis cultivation if they wish.
Adult consumers are allowed to grow only up to six marijuana plants per person. If more than one adult consumer in a single household wants to cultivate marijuana, they can only grow a total of 12 plants.
Registered patients are allowed to cultivate 12 flowering and 12 vegetative marijuana plants at home at a time. However, registered patients who have difficulty accessing a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MTC) due to distance, physical disability or financial hardship can apply for a Hardship Cultivation Registration. That will authorize them to grow enough plants to produce a 60-day supply of medical cannabis.
Registered patients and adult consumers must grow cannabis at home out of sight of the public. The growing area must be secure and locked to prevent unauthorized access. When processing cannabis at home for personal use, only alcohol is allowed with a flashpoint of less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Any other gas or liquid is prohibited to prevent fires.
It is legal to manufacture cannabis for medical and recreational purposes in the state of Massachusetts, including Plymouth County.
A marijuana manufacturer must apply for a license with the Cannabis Control Commission. A licensed marijuana product manufacturer is authorized to process, manufacture, and package cannabis products. They can only sell and deliver these to other licensed marijuana manufacturers and sellers. They are not authorized to sell directly to consumers.
Holders of an MTC license can, however, manufacture marijuana in addition to growing it. They can also sell to other licensed marijuana businesses and to consumers.
According to Chapter 369, all licensed marijuana manufacturing facilities in Massachusetts must be indoors and hidden from public sight. It must have a high perimeter fence with tight security measures that disallow unauthorized entry. The facility must be 500 feet or more away from a pre-existing private or public school with students from kindergarten to grade 12.
It is legal to sell cannabis by retail for medical and recreational purposes in the state of Massachusetts, including Plymouth County. Cities and towns are, however, allowed to ban adult-use cannabis retail within their boundaries.
According to the Massachusetts municipal tracker, the following cities or towns in Plymouth County have banned adult-use cannabis retail businesses:
A marijuana retailer must apply for a license with the Cannabis Control Commission. A licensed marijuana retailer is authorized to purchase cannabis and cannabis products from other licensed marijuana businesses and sell these to other licensed businesses or to consumers aged 21 or older. An MTC license also covers all of these.
Marijuana retailers and MTCs are required to have a physical retail location accessible to patients and consumers. They must, however, be located over 500 feet away from a pre-existing private or public school with students from kindergarten to grade 12.
Marijuana retailers can sell to buyers from Massachusetts or other states provided the buyers provide a government-issued identification card proving their age. A medical marijuana card is not required for purchase.
The following marijuana products can be purchased by adult consumers and patients in Massachusetts:
It is legal to deliver cannabis for medical and recreational purposes in the state of Massachusetts, including Plymouth County. Cities and towns are, however, allowed to ban adult-use cannabis retail within their boundaries.
According to the Massachusetts municipal tracker, the following cities or towns in Plymouth County have banned cannabis delivery in their territories:
Licensed cannabis retailers and licensed MTCs can apply for a marijuana delivery operator license with the Cannabis Control Commission. Licensed marijuana microbusiness owners can apply to add on a delivery endorsement to their license with the Cannabis Control Commission.
The Cannabis Control Commission also issues marijuana courier licenses that authorize only the delivery of marijuana on behalf of licensed MTCs and licensed cannabis retailers. Holders of marijuana courier licenses are not allowed to have physical establishments to store or sell cannabis.
Delivery of purchased cannabis is allowed to the residents of buyers who can provide a government-issued identification card proving they are aged 21 or older. A medical marijuana card is not required for purchase. However, delivery is only allowed in municipalities that have not banned adult-use cannabis within their territories. Furthermore, Cannabis delivery license or endorsement holders are allowed to deliver only in areas where they are licensed to operate. Deliveries are allowed only from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
Residents of Massachusetts with the following medical conditions must register with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program to get a medical marijuana card:
• Hepatitis C
• Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)
• Crohn’s disease
• Parkinson’s disease
• Multiple sclerosis (MS)
• Other debilitating conditions as attested in writing by a Certifying Health Care Provider
Before registering, the patient must first find a Certifying Health Care Provider who is already registered with the Program. Patients below 18 years old need the consent of a parent or guardian and certifications from two Certifying Health Care Providers.
Minors and adult patients who need assistance may appoint up to two caregivers each. This must be indicated to the Certifying Health Care Providers so that they can include the caregiver in the registration process. Caregivers will also be provided with medical marijuana cards.
The Certifying Health Care Providers provide a four-digit PIN registration number to qualifying patients. Patients will also receive an email with instructions on how to complete the application online. Patients must prepare a valid identification card proving residency in Massachusetts and a passport-style photo. There are no fees for the application and the medical marijuana card.
Patients may also apply by mail by printing out the registration form and sending it with the requirements to the following address:
Cannabis Control Commission
Medical Use of Marijuana Program
2 Washington Square
Worcester, MA 01604
Whether the application is done online or by mail, the medical marijuana card will be sent to the patient by mail. Processing is faster through online applications.
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission reported that from November 20, 2018, to May 14, 2022, there has been $3,001,846,490.00 in total gross sales of adult-use cannabis. Just eight months earlier, reported gross sales were over $2 billion, recording about a billion in growth in that period.
In 2021, annual gross sales of adult-use cannabis exceeded a billion dollars for the first time at $1,331,246,109.00.
Sales of adult-use cannabis is subject to the following taxes:
There is no data for Plymouth County as a whole but in Plymouth City, information reported by the Police Department on the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer shows that drug-related arrests mostly declined since 2012 before cannabis was legalized.
Arrests for drug violations decreased from 58 in 2012 to 32 in 2020. Drug possession arrests decreased from 39 in 2012 to 27 in 2020, and marijuana possession arrests remained the same at one. Arrests for drug manufacturing or sales decreased from 19 in 2012 to five in 2020, and marijuana sales arrests decreased from two to none. DUI arrests also decreased from 88 in 2012 to 45 in 2020.