5 Massachusetts Cannabis Laws You Must Know

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In this post, we’re covering the basics of what you need to know to stay compliant as a Massachusetts marijuana establishment.

Massachusetts marijuana regulations at a glance

  • The Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative legalized medical marijuana in Massachusetts in November 2012.

  • Recreational marijuana was legalized in the state in November of 2016, with the passing of the Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative, with sales beginning in November 2018.

  • Recreational marijuana faces a 10.75% excise tax, the 6.25% state sales tax, and the possibility for cities to add 3%.

  • The Cannabis Control Commission is the regulatory agency for the state of Massachusetts.

  • Massachusetts uses Metrc as its seed-to-sale tracking system.

Law #1: Dispensary licensing

Law: Application Requirements (1) New Applicants. An applicant in any category of Marijuana Establishment shall file, in a form and manner specified by the Commission, an application for licensure as a Marijuana Establishment. The application shall consist of three sections: Application of Intent; Background Check; and Management and Operations Profile, except as otherwise provided. The applicant may complete any section of the application in any order. Once all sections of the application have been completed, the application may be submitted. Application materials, including attachments, may be subject to release pursuant to the Public Records Law, M.G.L. c. 66, § 10 and M.G.L. c. 4, § 7, cl. 26. (a) Application of Intent. An applicant for licensure as a Marijuana Establishment shall submit the following as part of the Application of Intent: 1. Documentation that the Marijuana Establishment is an entity registered to do business in Massachusetts and a list of all Persons or Entities Having Direct or Indirect Control. In addition, the applicant must submit any contractual, management, or other written document that explicitly or implicitly conveys direct or indirect control over the Marijuana Establishment to the listed person or entity pursuant to 935 CMR 500.050(1)(b); 2. A disclosure of an interest of each individual named in the application in any Marijuana Establishment application for licensure or Licensee in Massachusetts; 3. Documentation disclosing whether any individual named in the application have past or present business interests in Other Jurisdictions; 4. Documentation detailing the amounts and sources of capital resources available to the applicant from any individual or entity that will be contributing capital resources to the applicant for purposes of establishing or operating the identified Marijuana Establishment for each license applied for. If any person or entity contributing initial capital, either in cash or in kind, would be classified as a Person or Entity Having Direct or Indirect Control, in exchange for the initial capital, they shall also be listed pursuant to 935 CMR 500.101(1)(a)1. Information submitted shall be subject to review and verification by the Commission as a component of the application process. Required documentation shall include: a. The proper name of any individual or registered business name of any entity; b. The street address, provided, however that the address may not be a post office box; c. The primary telephone number; d. Electronic mail; e. The amount and source of capital provided or promised; f. A bank record dated within 60 days of the application submission date verifying the existence of capital; g. Certification that funds used to invest in or finance the Marijuana Establishment were lawfully earned or obtained; and h. Any contractual or written agreement pertaining to a loan of initial capital, if applicable. 5. Documentation of a bond or an escrow account in an amount set by 935 CMR 500.105(16): Bond; 6. Identification of the proposed address for the license; 7. Documentation of a property interest in the proposed address. The proposed Marijuana Establishment shall be identified in the documentation as the entity that has the property interest. Interest may be demonstrated by one of the following: a. Clear legal title to the proposed site; b. An option to purchase the proposed site; c. A legally enforceable agreement to give such title; or d. Documentation evidencing permission to use the Premises. 8. Documentation in the form of a single-page certification signed by the contracting authorities for the municipality and applicant evidencing that the applicant for licensure and host municipality in which the address of the Marijuana Establishment is located have executed a Host Community agreement; 9. Documentation that the applicant has conducted a community outreach meeting consistent with the Commission's Guidance for License Applicants on Community Outreach within the six months prior to the application. Documentation shall includea. Copy of a notice of the time, place and subject matter of the meeting, including the proposed address of the Marijuana Establishment, that was published in a newspaper of general circulation in the city or town at least 14 calendar days prior to the meeting; b. Copy of the meeting notice filed with the city or town clerk, the planning board, the contracting authority for the municipality and local cannabis licensing authority, if applicable; c. Attestation that at least one meeting was held within the municipality where the establishment is proposed to be located; d. Attestation that at least one meeting was held after normal business hours; e. Attestation that notice of the time, place and subject matter of the meeting, including the proposed address of the Marijuana Establishment, was mailed at least seven calendar days prior to the community outreach meeting to abutters of the proposed address of the Marijuana Establishment, and residents within 300 feet of the property line of the petitioner as they appear on the most recent applicable tax list, notwithstanding that the land of any such Owner is located in another city or town; f. Information presented at the community outreach meeting, which shall include, but not be limited to: i. The type(s) of Marijuana Establishment to be located at the proposed address; ii. Information adequate to demonstrate that the location will be maintained securely; iii. Steps to be taken by the Marijuana Establishment to prevent diversion to minors; iv. A plan by the Marijuana Establishment to positively impact the community; v. Information adequate to demonstrate that the location will not constitute a nuisance as defined by law; and vi. An attestation that community members were permitted to ask questions and receive answers from representatives of the Marijuana Establishment. 10. A description of plans to ensure that the Marijuana Establishment is or will be compliant with local codes, ordinances, and bylaws for the physical address of the Marijuana Establishment, which shall include, but not be limited to, the identification of all local licensing requirements for the adult use of Marijuana; 11. A plan by the Marijuana Establishment to positively impact Areas of Disproportionate Impact, as defined by the Commission, for the purposes established in M.G.L. c. 94G, § 4(a½)(iv). The plan shall outline the goals, programs, and measurements the Marijuana Establishment will pursue once licensed; 12. The requisite nonrefundable application fee pursuant to 935 CMR 500.005: Fees; and 13. Any other information required by the Commission. (b) Background Check. Prior to an application being considered complete, each applicant for licensure shall submit the following information: 1. The list of individuals and entities in 935 CMR 500.101(1)(a)1.; 2. Information for each individual identified in 935 CMR 500.101(1)(a)1. which shall include: a. The individual's full legal name and any aliases; b. The individual's address; c. The individual's date of birth; d. A photocopy of the individual's driver's license or other government-issued identification card; e. A CORI Acknowledgment Form, pursuant to 803 CMR 2.09: Requirements for Requestors to Request CORI, provided by the Commission, signed by the individual and notarized; f. Authorization to obtain a full set of fingerprints, in accordance with M.G.L. c. 94G, § 21 and Public Law 92-544, submitted in a form and manner as determined by the Commission; and g. Any other authorization or disclosure deemed necessary by the Commission, for the purposes of conducting a background check. 3. Relevant Background Check Information. All Persons and Entities Having Direct or Indirect Control, and those individuals and entities contributing 10% or more in the form of a loan, shall provide information detailing involvement in any of the following criminal, civil, or administrative matters: a. A description and the relevant dates of any criminal action under the laws of the Commonwealth, or an Other Jurisdiction, whether for a felony or misdemeanor including, but not limited to, action against any health care facility or facility for providing Marijuana for medical- or adult-use purposes, in which those individuals either owned shares of stock served as board member, Executive, officer, director or member, and which resulted in conviction, or guilty plea, or plea of nolo contendere, or admission of sufficient facts; b. A description and the relevant dates of any civil action under the laws of the Commonwealth, or an Other Jurisdiction including, but not limited to, a complaint relating to any professional or occupational or fraudulent practices; c. A description and relevant dates of any past or pending legal or disciplinary actions in the Commonwealth or any other state against an entity whom the applicant served as a Person or Entity Having Direct or Indirect Control, related to the cultivation, Processing, distribution, or sale of Marijuana for medical- or adult-use purposes; d. A description and the relevant dates of any administrative action with regard to any professional license, registration, or certification, including any complaint, order, stipulated agreement or settlement, or disciplinary action, by the commonwealth, or like action in an Other Jurisdiction including, but not limited to, any complaint or issuance of an order relating to the denial, suspension, or revocation of a license, registration, or certification; e. A description and relevant dates of any administrative action, including any complaint, order or disciplinary action, by the Commonwealth, or a like action by an Other Jurisdiction with regard to any professional license, registration, or certification, held by any Person or Entity Having Direct or Indirect Control, if any; f. A description and relevant dates of actions against a license to prescribe or distribute controlled substances or legend drugs held by any person or entity having Direct or Indirect Control that is part of the applicant's application, if any; and g. Any other information required by the Commission. (c) Management and Operations Profile. Each applicant shall submit, with respect to each application, a response in a form and manner specified by the Commission, which includes: 1. Detailed information regarding its business registration with the Commonwealth, including the legal name, a copy of the articles of organization and bylaws as well as the identification of any doing-business-as names; 2. A certificate of good standing, issued within the previous 90 days from submission of an application, from the Corporations Division of the Secretary of the commonwealth; 3. A certificate of good standing or certificate of tax compliance issued within the previous 90 days from submission of an application, from the DOR; 4. A certificate of good standing, issued within the previous 90 days from submission of an application, from the DUA, if applicable. If not applicable, a written statement to this effect is required; 5. A proposed timeline for achieving operation of the Marijuana Establishment and evidence that the Marijuana Establishment will be ready to operate within the proposed timeline after notification by the Commission that the applicant qualifies for licensure; 6. A description of the Marijuana Establishment's plan to obtain a liability insurance policy or otherwise meet the requirements of 935 CMR 500.105(10): Liability Insurance Coverage or Maintenance of Escrow; 7. A detailed summary of the business plan for the Marijuana Establishment; 8. A detailed summary of operating policies and procedures for the Marijuana Establishment which shall include, but not be limited to, provisions for: a. Security; b. Prevention of diversion; c. Storage of Marijuana; d. Transportation of Marijuana; e. Inventory procedures; f. Procedures for quality control and testing of product for potential contaminants; g. Personnel policies; h. Dispensing procedures; i. Recordkeeping procedures; j. Maintenance of financial records; and k. Diversity plans to promote equity among people of color, particularly Black, African American, Hispanic, Latinx, and Indigenous people, women, Veterans, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people, in the operation of the Marijuana Establishment. The plan shall outline the goals, programs, and measurements the Marijuana Establishment will pursue once licensed. 9. A detailed description of qualifications and intended training(s) for Marijuana Establishment Agents who will be employees; 10. The Management and Operation Profile submitted in accordance with 935 CMR 500.101(1)(c) shall demonstrate compliance with the operational requirements set forth in 935 CMR 500.105: General Operational Requirements for Marijuana Establishments through 935 CMR 500.145: Additional Operational Requirements for Delivery of Marijuana, and Marijuana Products, Marijuana Accessories, and Marijuana Establishment Branded Goods to Consumers and as Permitted, to Patients or Caregivers, as applicable; 11. Disclosure of the proposed hours of operation, and the names and contact information for individuals that will be the emergency contacts for the Marijuana Establishment; and 12. Any other information required by the Commission.

Explained:

  • Applications are made of three parts: the application of intent, the background check, and the management and operations profile.

  • The application of intent requires the following documentation:
    • The marijuana establishment is registered to do business in Massachusetts.

    • A list of all Persons or Entities Having Direct or Indirect Control over the marijuana establishment.

    • Disclosure of In-State Interests for any individual or entity listed in the application. Whether any individual or entity named on the application has past or present business interests in other jurisdictions.

    • Amounts and sources of capital resources available to the applicant for the marijuana establishment.

    • The name, street address (not a P.O. box), contact information, and the amount and source of capital with verification via a bank record dated within 60 days of the application date with proof that the funds were lawfully obtained, and any loan contracts.

    • Documentation of a bond or escrow in the amount set aside.

    • Proposed address of the license, documentation of property interest (legal title or option to purchase the proposed site), proof of a host community agreement, and proof and details pertaining to community outreach meetings.

    • A description of the establishment’s plans to stay compliant with local ordinances, as well as a plan for positively impacting areas of disproportionate impact.

    • A nonrefundable application fee.

  • The management and operations profile must include:
    • Business registration information, the legal name, a copy of the articles of organization and bylaws, and the identification of any doing-business-as names.

    • Certificates of good standing or tax compliance within the previous 90 days from the application’s submission.

    • Business Plan, Liability Insurance Plan and proposed timeline.

    • Details regarding operations plans, policies and procedures.

Details regarding the application requirements can be found here.

Law #2: Dispensary advertising

Law: (4) Advertising Requirements. (a) Permitted Practices. The following Advertising activities are permitted: 1. A Marijuana Establishment may develop a Brand Name to be used in labeling, signage, and other materials; provided however, that use of medical symbols, images of Marijuana or Marijuana Products, or related Paraphernalia images, that are appealing to persons younger than 21 years old, and colloquial references to Marijuana and Cannabis are prohibited from use in the Brand Name 2. Brand Name Sponsorship of a charitable, sporting or similar event, so long as the following conditions are met. a. Sponsorship of the event is limited to the Brand Name. b. Any Advertising at or in connection with such an event is prohibited, unless such Advertising is targeted to entrants or participants reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older, as determined by reliable, current audience composition data, and reasonable safeguards have been employed to prohibit Advertising from targeting or otherwise reaching entrants or participants reasonably expected to be under 21 years of age, as determined by reliable, current audience composition data; 3. Brand Name Sponsorship of a charitable, cultural or similar event both held and organized by the city or town in which the sponsoring Marijuana Establishment or CMO is licensed to conduct business, so long as the following conditions are met: a. Sponsorship of said event shall be included in its Positive Impact Plan submitted in accordance with 935 CMR 500.101(1)(a)11; b. Sponsorship of the event is limited to the Brand Name; c. Any Advertising at or in connection with such an event is prohibited, unless such Advertising is targeted to entrants or participants reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older, as determined by reliable, current audience composition data, and reasonable safeguards have been employed to prohibit Advertising from targeting or otherwise reaching entrants or participants reasonably expected to be under 21 years of age, as determined by reliable, current audience composition data; 4. A Marijuana Establishment engaging in Brand Name Sponsorship under 935 CMR 500.105(4)(a)2. and 3. shall retain documentation of reliable, reasonable audience composition data that is the basis for allowing any such Advertising or branding for a period of one (1) year, or longer if otherwise required by the Commission, or a court or agency with jurisdiction. 5. A Marijuana Establishment may display, in secure, locked cases, samples of each product offered for sale and subject to the requirements of 935 CMR 500.110: Security Requirements for Marijuana Establishments. These display cases may be transparent. An authorized Marijuana Establishment Agent may remove a sample of Marijuana from the case and provide it to the Consumer for inspection, provided the Consumer may not consume or otherwise use the sample, unless otherwise authorized herein; 6. The establishment may post prices in the store and may respond to questions about pricing. The Marijuana Establishment shall provide a catalogue or a printed list of the prices and strains of Marijuana available at the Marijuana Establishment to Consumers and may post the same catalogue or printed list on its website and in the retail store; 7. A Marijuana Establishment may engage in reasonable Advertising practices that are not otherwise prohibited in 935 CMR 500.105(4)(b) that do not jeopardize the public health, welfare or safety of the general public or promote the diversion of Marijuana or Marijuana use in individuals younger than 21 years old or otherwise promote practices inconsistent with the purposes of M.G.L. c. 94G or 94I. Any such Advertising created for viewing by the public shall include the statement "Please Consume Responsibly", in a conspicuous manner on the face of the advertisement and shall include a minimum of two of the following warnings in their entirety in a conspicuous manner on the face of the advertisement: a. "This product may cause impairment and may be habit forming."; b. "Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug."; c. "There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product."; d. "For use only by adults 21 years of age or older. Keep out of the reach of children."; or e. "Marijuana should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding." 8. All Advertising produced by or on behalf of a Marijuana Establishment for Marijuana or Marijuana Products shall include the following warning, including capitalization, in accordance with M.G.L. c. 94G, § 4(a½)(xxvi): “This product has not been analyzed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is limited information on the side effects of using this product, and there may be associated health risks. Marijuana use during pregnancy and breast-feeding may pose potential harms. It is against the law to drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this product. KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. The impairment effects of Edibles may be delayed by two hours or more. In case of accidental ingestion, contact poison control hotline 1-800-222- 1222 or 9-1-1. This product may be illegal outside of MA.” 9. A Licensee may utilize employee discounts as part of the Marijuana Establishment’s operating policy and procedure for prevention of diversion pursuant to 935 CMR 500.101(1)(c)8.b.. Institution of an employee discount program under this subsection shall not be considered a prohibited practice under 935 CMR 500.105(4)(b). (b) Prohibited Practices. The following Advertising activities are prohibited: 1. Advertising in such a manner that is deemed to be is deceptive, misleading, false or fraudulent, or that tends to deceive or create a misleading impression, whether directly or by omission or ambiguity; 2. Advertising by means of television, radio, internet, mobile applications, social media, or other electronic communication, billboard or other outdoor Advertising, or print publication, unless at least 85% of the audience is reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older as determined by reliable and current audience composition data; 3. Advertising that utilizes statements, designs, representations, pictures or illustrations that portray anyone younger than 21 years old; 4. Advertising including, but not limited to, mascots, cartoons, and celebrity endorsements, that is deemed to appeal to a person younger than 21 years old; 5. Brand sponsorship including, but not limited to, mascots, cartoons, and celebrity endorsements, that is deemed to appeal to a person younger than 21 years old; 6. Advertising, including statements by a Licensee, that makes any false or statements concerning other Licensees and the conduct and products of such other Licensees that is deceptive, misleading, false or fraudulent, or that tends to deceive or create a misleading impression, whether directly or by omission or ambiguity; 7. Advertising by a Licensee that asserts that its products are safe, or represent that its products have curative or therapeutic effects, other than labeling required pursuant to M.G.L. c. 94G, § 4(a½)(xxvi), unless supported by substantial evidence or substantial clinical data with reasonable scientific rigor as determined by the Commission; 8. Advertising on any billboards, or any other public signage, which fails to comply with all state and local ordinances and requirements; 9. Use of any illuminated or external signage beyond the period of 30 minutes before sundown until closing, provided however, that the Commission may further specify minimum signage requirements; 10. The use of vehicles equipped with radio or loudspeakers for the Advertising of Marijuana or Marijuana Products; 11. The use of radio or loudspeaker equipment in any Marijuana Establishment for the purpose of Advertising the sale of Marijuana or Marijuana Products; 12. Brand Name Sponsorship of a charitable, sporting or similar event, unless such Advertising is targeted to entrants or participants reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older, as determined by reliable, current audience composition data, and reasonable safeguards have been employed to prohibit Advertising from targeting or otherwise reaching entrants or participants reasonably expected to be under 21 years of age, as determined by reliable, current audience composition data; 13. Operation of any website of a Marijuana Establishment that fails to verify that the entrant is 21 years of age or older; 14. Any Advertising, including the use of Brand Names, of an improper or objectionable nature including, but not limited to, the use of language or images offensive or disparaging to certain groups; 15. Any Advertising, solely for the promotion of Marijuana or Marijuana Products on Marijuana Establishment Branded Goods, including but not limited to clothing, cups, drink holders, apparel accessories, electronic equipment or accessories, sporting equipment, novelty items and similar portable promotional items; 16. Advertising on or in public or private vehicles and at bus stops, taxi stands, transportation waiting areas, train stations, airports, or other similar transportation venues including, but not limited to, vinyl-wrapped vehicles or signs or logos on transportation vehicles not owned by the Marijuana Establishment; 17. The display of signs or other printed material Advertising any brand or any kind of Marijuana or Marijuana Products that are displayed on the exterior of any licensed Premises; 18. Advertising of the price of Marijuana or Marijuana Products, except as permitted above pursuant to Display of Marijuana or Marijuana Products so as to be clearly visible to a person from the exterior of a Marijuana Establishment. Advertising through the marketing of free promotional items, including, but not limited to, gifts, giveaways, discounts, points-based reward systems, customer loyalty programs, coupons, and "free" or "donated" Marijuana, except as otherwise permitted by 935 CMR 500.105(4)(a)9. and except for the provision of Brand Name take-away bags by a Marijuana Establishment for the benefit of customers after a retail purchase is completed; (c) Nothing in 935 CMR 500.105(4) prohibits a Marijuana Establishment from using a mark provided by the Commission which uses images of Marijuana or Marijuana Products. CMOs shall comply with the requirements of each 935 CMR 500.105(4): Advertising Requirements and 501.105(4): Advertising Requirements with respect to the applicable license. A CMO may develop a single marketing campaign, provided, however, it shall apply the most restrictive requirements applicable under either license.

Explained:

  • State law allows dispensaries to choose a brand name, but it cannot use medical symbols, images of marijuana or marijuana products, or paraphernalia images that appeal to those under 21 years of age.

  • The brand name can’t include any colloquial references to the use of marijuana or cannabis products.

  • The brand name can sponsor events according to the following conditions:
    • Only the brand name can be used to advertise at events. Advertising to those reasonably expected to be 21 years old is allowed, but no other advertising is permitted and measures must be taken to protect underage individuals from exposure.

    • Audience composition data must be collected by marijuana dispensaries before advertising can take place.

  • Samples can be displayed in locked cases.

  • Prices can be posted within the store in a catalog and online.

  • Advertisements cannot target underage individuals and must contain the message “Please consume responsibly”, along with at least 2 of the following warnings:
    • “This product may cause impairment and is habit-forming.”

    • “Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug.”

    • “There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product.”

    • For use only by adults 21 years of age or older. Keep out of the reach of children.” or “Marijuana should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.”

  • In addition to the above warning statements, all advertising must include the following warning, including capitalization:
    • “This product has not been analyzed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is limited information on the side effects of using this product, and there may be associated health risks. Marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding may pose potential harm. It is against the law to drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this product. KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. The impairment effects of Edibles may be delayed by two hours or more. In case of accidental ingestion, contact poison control hotline 1-800-222- 1222 or 9-1-1. This product may be illegal outside of MA.”

  • The following are prohibited:
    • Advertising that is misleading, deceptive, false or fraudulent or that tends to deceive or create a misleading impression, whether directly or by omission or ambiguity.

    • Advertising digitally or in print, unless the audience is reasonably expected to be 85% of age.

    • Advertising that utilizes statements, designs, representations, pictures or illustrations that portray anyone younger than 21 years old.

    • Advertising (including brand sponsorships) including, but not limited to, mascots, cartoons, and celebrity endorsements, that is deemed to appeal to a person younger than 21 years old.

    • Advertising that appeals to underage individuals.

    • Advertising that makes false claims about another licensee or statements concerning other licensees and the conduct and products of other licensees that is deceptive, misleading, false or fraudulent, or that tends to deceive or create a misleading impression, whether directly or by omission or ambiguity.

    • Assertions that its products are safe, or represent that its products have curative or therapeutic effects, other than labeling required pursuant to M.G.L. c. 94G, § 4(a½)(xxvi), unless supported by substantial evidence or substantial clinical data with reasonable scientific rigor as determined by the Commission.

    • Billboards, or any other public signage advertisements that fail to comply with all state and local ordinances and requirements.

    • Illuminated or external signage beyond the period of 30 minutes before sundown until closing.

    • Use of vehicles equipped with radio or loudspeakers for the Advertising of Marijuana or Marijuana Products.

    • Use of radio or loudspeaker equipment in any Marijuana Establishment for the purpose of advertising the sale of Marijuana or Marijuana Products.

    • Operation of any website that fails to verify that the entrant is 21 years of age or older.

    • Brand Name Sponsorship of a charitable, sporting or similar event, unless such Advertising is targeted to entrants or participants reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older, as determined by reliable, current audience composition data, and reasonable safeguards have been employed to prohibit Advertising from targeting or otherwise reaching entrants or participants reasonably expected to be under 21 years of age, as determined by reliable, current audience composition data.

    • Language or images offensive or disparaging to certain groups.

    • Advertising marijuana or marijuana products on clothing, cups, drink holders, apparel accessories, electronic equipment or accessories, sporting equipment, novelty items and similar portable promotional items.

    • Advertising on or in public or private vehicles and at bus stops, taxi stands, transportation waiting areas, train stations, airports, or other similar transportation venues including, but not limited to, vinyl-wrapped vehicles or signs or logos on transportation vehicles not owned by the Marijuana Establishment.

    • The display of signs or other printed material advertising any brand or any kind of Marijuana or Marijuana Products that are displayed on the exterior of any licensed Premises.

    • Display of marijuana or marijuana products visible to a person from the exterior of the marijuana establishment.

    • Free promotional items including, but not limited to, gifts, giveaways, discounts, points-based reward systems, customer loyalty programs, coupons, and "free" or "donated" Marijuana.

Additional information on Advertising is outlined in the Frequently Asked Questions About Advertising document.

Law #3: General requirements

Law: 500.105: General Operational Requirements for Marijuana Establishments (1) Written Operating Procedures. Every Marijuana Establishment shall have and follow a set of detailed written operating procedures. If the Marijuana Establishment has an additional location, it shall develop and follow a set of such operating procedures for that facility. A CMO shall have written operating procedures that comply with both 935 CMR 500.105(1): Written Operating Procedures and 935 CMR 501.105(1): Written Operating Procedures and may do so by having two sets of written operating procedures applicable to each medical-use and adult-use operations or having one set of written operating procedures, provided it complies with both medical-use and adult-use requirements. Operating procedures shall include, but need not be limited to the following: (a) Security measures in compliance with 935 CMR 500.110: Security Requirements for Marijuana Establishments; (b) Employee security policies, including personal safety and crime prevention techniques; (c) A description of the Marijuana Establishment's hours of operation and after-hours contact information, which shall be provided to the Commission, made available to Law Enforcement Authorities on request, and updated pursuant to 935 CMR 500.000: Adult Use of Marijuana; (d) Storage and waste disposal of Marijuana in compliance with 935 CMR 500.105(11): Storage Requirements; (e) Description of the various strains of Marijuana to be cultivated, Processed or sold, as applicable, and the form(s) in which Marijuana will be sold; (f) Price list for Marijuana and Marijuana Products and any other available products, and alternate price list for patients with documented Verified Financial Hardship, as defined in 935 CMR 501.002: Verified Financial Hardship, as required by 935 CMR 501.100(1)(f); (g) Procedures to ensure accurate recordkeeping, including inventory protocols for Transfer and inventory in compliance with 935 CMR 500.105(8) and (9); (h) Plans for quality control, including product testing for contaminants in compliance with 935 CMR 500.160: Testing of Marijuana and Marijuana Products; (i) A staffing plan and staffing records in compliance with 935 CMR500.105(9)(d); (j) Emergency procedures, including a disaster plan with procedures to be followed in case of fire or other emergencies; (k) Alcohol, smoke, and drug-free workplace policies; (l) A plan describing how Confidential Information and other records required to be maintained confidentially will be maintained; (m)A policy for the immediate dismissal of any Marijuana Establishment Agent who has: 1. Diverted Marijuana, which shall be reported to law enforcement Authorities and to the Commission; 2. Engaged in unsafe practices with regard to operation of the Marijuana Establishment, which shall be reported to the Commission; or 3. Been convicted or entered a guilty plea, plea of nolo contendere, or admission to sufficient facts of a felony drug offense involving distribution to a minor in the Commonwealth, or a like violation of the laws of any Other Jurisdiction. (n) A list of all board of directors, members and Executives of a Marijuana Establishment, and Members, if any, of the Licensee shall be made available on request by any individual. This requirement may be fulfilled by placing this required information on the Marijuana Establishment's website; (o) Policies and procedure for the handling of cash on Marijuana Establishment Premises including, but not limited to, storage, collection frequency, and transport to financial institution(s), to be available on inspection. (p) Policies and procedures to prevent the diversion of Marijuana to individuals younger than 21 years old; (q) Policies and procedures for energy efficiency and conservation that shall include: 1. Identification of potential energy use reduction opportunities (including, but not limited to, natural lighting, heat recovery ventilation and energy efficiency measures), and a plan for implementation of such opportunities; 2. Consideration of opportunities for renewable energy generation including, where applicable, submission of building plans showing where energy generators could be placed on the site, and an explanation of why the identified opportunities were not pursued, if applicable; 3. Strategies to reduce electric demand (such as lighting schedules, active load management and energy storage); and 4. Engagement with energy efficiency programs offered pursuant to M.G.L. c. 25, § 21, or through municipal lighting plants. (r) Policies and procedures to promote workplace safety consistent with the standards set forth under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 29 U.S.C. § 651, et seq., including the general duty clause under 29 U.S.C. § 654, whereby: Each employer (a) shall furnish to each of its employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to its employees; (b) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this act. Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 651, et seq., which are applicable to the employee's own actions and conduct. All current and updated regulations and references at 29 CFR Parts 1903, 1904, 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918, 1926, 1928, and 1977 are incorporated by reference, and applicable to all places of employment covered by 935 CMR 500.000: Adult Use of Marijuana.

Explained:

  • Every marijuana establishment must have a detailed, written set of operating procedures created specifically for each facility. Marijuana Establishments must update the Commission within five business days to any change in written operating policies and procedures.

  • The written set of operating procedures must include but is not limited to:
    • Security measures.

    • Employee security policies.

    • Hours of operation and after-hours contact information.

    • Storage and waste disposal measures.

    • Storage requirements and descriptions of the various strains and forms to be cultivated, processed, or sold.

    • Price list for retail customers.

    • Price list for patients with verified financial hardship.

    • Recordkeeping procedures, inventory and transfer protocols.

    • Plans for quality control, including product testing for contaminants.

    • Staffing plan and staffing records.

    • Emergency procedures and disaster procedures.

    • Alcohol, smoke, and drug-free workplace policies.

    • Confidentiality measures.

    • A policy outlining immediate dismissal for any marijuana establishment agent who has diverted marijuana, engaged in unsafe practices, or been convicted of a felony drug offense involving distribution to a minor.

    • A list of all board of directors, members and executives of a marijuana establishment, and members of the licensee.

    • Policies and procedures for handling cash.

    • Policies and procedures to prevent the diversion of marijuana to underage individuals.

    • Policies for energy efficiency and conservation.

    • Workplace safety procedures.

        Law #4: Purchase limits

        Law: (3) Limitation on Sales. (a) In accordance with M.G.L. c. 94G, § 7, a Marijuana Retailer may not knowingly sell more than one ounce of Marijuana or its combined dry weight equivalent in Marijuana concentrate or Edibles to a retail customer per day. 1. One ounce of Marijuana flower shall be equivalent to five grams of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in Marijuana concentrate including, but not limited to, Tinctures. 2. One ounce of Marijuana flower shall be equivalent to five hundred milligrams of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in Edibles. 3. Topicals and ointments shall not be subject to a limitation on daily sales. (b) A Marijuana Retailer may not sell Marijuana or Marijuana Products in excess of the potency levels established by 935 CMR 500.150(4): Dosing Limitations; and (c) A Marijuana Retailer shall demonstrate that it has a point-of-sale system that does not allow for a transaction in excess of the limit established in 935 CMR 500.140(3)(a) or the potency levels established in 935 CMR 500.140(3)(b).

        Explained:

        • One ounce of marijuana or its combined dry weight equivalent in concentrate or edibles in a single day.

        • One ounce of flower is equivalent to five grams of concentrate (active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)) in concentrate and 500 milligrams of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in edibles.

        • Topicals and ointments are not subject to a daily sale limit.

        • A POS system must demonstrate that it does not allow for the transaction in excess of the daily limit.

        Law #5: Delivery

        Law: (10) Marijuana Courier. (a) A Marijuana Courier may deliver Marijuana or Marijuana Products directly to Consumers from a Marijuana Retailer or to Patients or Caregivers from an MTC with which the Marijuana Courier has a Delivery Agreement. A Marijuana Courier may be an Owner of or have a controlling interest in a Cultivation, Product Manufacturing, Social Consumption Establishment, Research, Retail or Transportation license. (b) A Marijuana Courier shall be limited on an exclusive basis to businesses controlled by and with majority ownership comprised of Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants or Social Equity Program Participants for a period of 36 months from the date the first Delivery Operator Licensee receives a notice to commence operations, provided, however, that the Commission may vote =to extend that period following a determination that the goal of the exclusivity period to promote and encourage full participation in the regulated Marijuana industry by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by Marijuana prohibition and enforcement of the law has not been met; and the Commission may vote to expand eligibility for Delivery Licenses during the exclusivity period pursuant to 935 CMR 500.050(10)(b)4. 1. The Commission shall develop criteria for evaluating whether the goals of the exclusivity period are met, which shall include, but not be limited to: a. Overall rates of participation in the regulated marijuana industry by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement of the law; b. Overall rates of participation in the regulated Marijuana industry by people of color; c. Licenses granted to businesses with majority ownership comprised of Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants and Social Equity Program Participants; d. Number of registered agents who are Social Equity Program Participants; e. Number of Delivery Licensees in operation and business performance relative to other Marijuana Establishments; f. Financial feasibility of continued participation in the regulated Marijuana industry by communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by Marijuana prohibition and enforcement of the law if exclusivity period ends; and g. Any other information the Commission determines relevant. 2. The Commission shall collect and report on data measuring the criteria throughout the exclusivity period. The Commission shall begin evaluating whether the goals of the exclusivity period have been met at least eight months before the end of the 36-month period to provide adequate time to consider whether an extension of the 36-month period is necessary prior to the conclusion of that time period. 3. The licenses shall generally be available to applicants after the 36-month period unless the Commissioners affirmatively votes to extend the period of exclusivity by a period of 12 months after the first 36-month period. Any subsequent extension of the exclusivity period would require the Commission affirmatively to find that the goals and objectives of the exclusivity period as set forth in 935 CMR 500.050(10)(b)1. have not been met. 4. If data collected by the Commission demonstrates progress toward the goals and objectives of the exclusivity period as set forth in 935 CMR 500.050(10)(b)1. and that demand for Consumer delivery is likely to exceed the supply that could be provided by businesses that meet the exclusivity requirements during the exclusivity period, the Commission may vote during the exclusivity period to allow the following additional businesses to own Delivery Licenses: a. Worker-owned cooperatives organized to operate consistently with the Seven Cooperative Principles established by the International Cooperative Alliance in 1995; or b. Massachusetts Minority Business Enterprises (MBE), Women Business Enterprises (WBE), and Veteran Business Enterprises (VBE) with valid certification from the SDO. (c) No person or entity other than those disclosed in the application shall be a Person or Entity Having Direct or Indirect Control in a Delivery License. (d) No Person or Entity with Direct or Indirect Control shall possess, or be granted, more than two (2) Delivery Licenses. (e) After the promulgation of these regulations, any application or license classified as a Delivery-Only license pursuant to previously adopted regulations shall be converted to a Delivery Courier application or license governed by this section. (11) Marijuana Delivery Operator. (a) A Delivery Operator may Wholesale and Warehouse Finished Marijuana Products acquired from a Marijuana Cultivator, Marijuana Product Manufacturer, Microbusiness or Craft Marijuana Cooperative and sell and deliver directly to Consumers. A Delivery Operator may be an Owner of or have a controlling interest in a Cultivation, Product Manufacturing, Social Consumption Establishment, Research, Transportation or Retail license, subject to the limitations stated in 935 CMR 500.050(11)(e). (b) A Delivery Operator Licensee shall operate a Warehouse for the purpose of storing Finished Marijuana Products. (c) Notwithstanding that a Delivery Operator is not considered to be a Marijuana Retailer as defined under 935 CMR 500.002 or authorized to engage in permitted activities under 935 CMR 500.050(8), but is authorized to sell Finished Marijuana Products directly to consumers, a Delivery Operator shall register as a vendor with the Department of Revenue and collect and remit marijuana retail taxes in accordance with 830 CMR 64N.1.1: Marijuana Retail Taxes. (d) Delivery Operator Licenses shall be limited on an exclusive basis to businesses controlled by and with majority ownership comprised of Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants or Social Equity Program Participants for a period of 36 months from the date the first Delivery Operator Licensee receives a notice to commence operations, provided, however, that the Commission may vote to extend that period following a determination that the goal of the exclusivity period to promote and encourage full participation in the regulated Marijuana industry by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by Marijuana prohibition and enforcement of the law has not been met; and the Commission may vote to expand eligibility for Delivery Licenses during the exclusivity period pursuant to 935 CMR 500.050(11)(d)4. 1. The Commission shall develop criteria for evaluating whether the goals of the exclusivity period are met, which shall include, but not be limited to: a. Overall rates of participation in the regulated marijuana industry by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement of the law; b. Overall rates of participation in the regulated Marijuana industry by people of color; c. Licenses granted to businesses with majority ownership comprised of Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants and Social Equity Program Participants; d. Number of registered agents who are Social Equity Program Participants; e. Number of Delivery Licensees in operation and business performance relative to other Marijuana Establishments; f. Financial feasibility of continued participation in the regulated Marijuana industry by communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by Marijuana prohibition and enforcement of the law if exclusivity period ends; and g. Any other information the Commission determines relevant. 2. The Commission shall collect and report on data measuring the criteria throughout the exclusivity period. The Commission shall begin evaluating whether the goals of the exclusivity period have been met at least eight months before the end of the 36-month period to provide adequate time to consider whether an extension of the 36-month period is necessary prior to the conclusion of that time period. 3. The licenses shall generally be available to applicants after the 36-month period unless the Commissioners affirmatively votes to extend the period of exclusivity by a period of 12 months after the first 36-month period. Any subsequent extension of the exclusivity period would require the Commission affirmatively to find that the goals and objectives of the exclusivity period as set forth in 935 CMR 500.050(11)(d)1. have not been met. 4. If data collected by the Commission demonstrates progress toward the goals and objectives of the exclusivity period as set forth in 935 CMR 500.050(11)(d)1. and that demand for consumer delivery is likely to exceed the supply that could be provided by businesses that meet the exclusivity requirements during the exclusivity period, the Commission may vote during the exclusivity period to allow the following additional businesses to own Delivery Licenses: a. Worker-owned cooperatives organized to operate consistently with the Seven Cooperative Principles established by the International Cooperative Alliance in 1995; or b. Massachusetts Minority Business Enterprises (MBE), Women Business Enterprises (WBE), and Veteran Business Enterprises (VBE) with valid certification from the SDO. (e) No person or entity other than those disclosed in the application shall be a Person or Entity Having Direct or Indirect Control in a Delivery Operator License. (f) No Person or Entity Having Direct or Indirect Control in a Delivery Operator License shall obtain, or be granted, more than a combined total of two (2) Delivery Licenses, subject to the limitations in 935 CMR 050(1)(b): Control Limitations. (g) Two years from the date the first Delivery Operator Licensee receives a notice to commence operations, the Commission or its designee shall commence an evaluation of the development of the Cannabis delivery market in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which may include assessing the competitiveness and concentration of the market, the repackaging and white labeling requirements, and any other matter as determined by the Commission. The Commission shall complete its evaluation within four months, unless the Commission determines that there is a reasonable basis for an extension. The Commission may take any action, including, but not limited to, issuing regulations or guidance, it deems necessary to address issues with market development.

        Explained:

        • Marijuana regulations permit delivery of marijuana and related products to adult-use marijuana consumers, patients, or caregivers at a permissible Residence.

        • Marijuana couriers may be an owner or have a controlling interest in a Cultivation, Product Manufacturing, Social Consumption Establishment, Research, Retail or Transportation license.

        • Delivery is limited to Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants or Social Equity Program Participants for a period of 36 months from the date the first Delivery Operator Licensee receives a notice to commence operations and the delivery program will be re-evaluated after 2 years.

        • A person or entity can only have 2 delivery licenses.

            Massachusetts cannabis laws FAQs

            Is recreational cannabis legal in Massachusetts?

            Recreational cannabis has been legal in Massachusetts since 2016.

            How is marijuana taxed in Massachusetts?

            Recreational marijuana faces a 10.75% excise tax, the 6.25% state sales tax, and the possibility for cities to add 3%.

            How much weed can I buy in Massachusetts?

            Purchase limits in Massachusetts are one ounce of marijuana or its combined dry weight equivalent in concentrate or edibles in a single day.

            Is Flowhub compliant with Massachusetts's cannabis regulations?

            Yes! Flowhub was the first integrator with Metrc, so we have a deep understanding of how to keep your dispensary compliant. We also are compliant with Massachusetts cannabis regulations.

            Disclaimer: The material contained on this website and any attached or referenced pages has been compiled by Flowhub for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be and is not considered to be legal advice. This post is current as of 10/28/2021. Cannabis regulations are rapidly changing, and legal advice of any nature should be sought from legal counsel.

            Taylor

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