Massachusetts’ approach to marijuana, both recreational and medical, is defined by a range of laws and regulations. In 2016, residents voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for those aged 21 and older, a significant step in changing the state’s stance on cannabis.
Under the current law, adults 21 and over are allowed to consume marijuana, but there are specific regulations governing where it can be used, how much can be grown and possessed, its transportation, and other aspects. Notably, regardless of age, consuming marijuana in public or on federal land is prohibited, with violators facing potential legal repercussions.
For medical marijuana, Massachusetts law provides certain protections. For instance, an employee who is terminated for using medical marijuana off-site and not before or during work hours may have grounds to sue their employer for handicap discrimination, as outlined in Comm. v. Richardson 479 Mass. 344 (2018). This case highlights the legal nuances surrounding medical marijuana use in the workplace.
The state’s Cannabis Control Commission plays a pivotal role in overseeing the implementation and administration of laws concerning both medical and adult use of marijuana. Their mission reflects the will of the Massachusetts voters, focusing on safe, equitable, and effective management of marijuana laws in the state.
Specific laws like Mass. General Laws c.94C § 32L address the possession of marijuana, indicating that possessing 2 ounces or less is only a civil offense for those aged 18 to 21, subject to a fine and forfeiture of the marijuana, but not to criminal or other civil punishment.
Moreover, Massachusetts has made strides in criminal justice reform related to marijuana. For example, MGL c.276 § 100K allows for the expungement of records for marijuana cultivation, possession, and/or distribution, recognizing the changing legal landscape of marijuana use and its implications.
Massachusetts law about recreational marijuana |
Marijuana Laws in Massachusetts |
Massachusetts law about medical marijuana |
Marijuana legalization and the City of Boston |
Mass. General Laws c.94C § 32L |
Cannabis Control Commission |
935 CMR 500.00: Adult use of marijuana |
Mass. General Laws c.94G § 7 |
Chapter 94G – Massachusetts Legislature