Massachusetts cannabis laws have traditionally been some of the most forward-looking in the United States. Medical cannabis laws were passed in 2012 and recreational cannabis laws reached the state in 2016 – both with significant support from the public.

Recently, cannabis laws in Massachusetts received an overhaul that will affect many key areas of how cannabis is produced, distributed, and used. Cannabis dispensaries in Massachusetts must begin to comply with the legislative rewrite, completed in mid-2017, right away.

Massachusetts cannabis growing laws have remained broadly the same under the new rules, which allow the possession of 10 ounces of cannabis products within a person’s primary residence and one ounce outside the residence, with certain other exceptions and caveats. A household is also empowered to maintain up to 12 cannabis plants. Criminal liability for home growing has been eased significantly.

In fact, local residents with prior cannabis convictions can even see their records sealed.

A Snapshot of the Cannabis Market in Massachusetts Today


Entrepreneurs wondering how to open a dispensary in Massachusetts will be pleased to know that the products will be taxed at up to 20%, the second-lowest rate in the country today. Retail pot shops must seek an agreement with the city or town, which is empowered to levy a small additional tax.

Although there are many favorable factors, the picture remains somewhat complex. For example, a new state agency – the Cannabis Control Commission – will be drafting regulations that apply to cannabis edibles. Retail shops are not expected to open their doors until July 2018.

Medical cannabis remains untaxed, providing relief for more than 43,000 active patients in the state.

How to Open a Dispensary in Massachusetts: The Facts Under Current Law

MassachusettsTo participate in the cannabis dispensary market in Massachusetts, an enterprise must apply for and receive a Registered Marijuana Dispensary (RMD) Certificate of Registration.

This complex, multi-step process includes total fees of $31,500, including an Application of Intent and a $30,000 Management and Operations Profile. The paperwork involved is extremely comprehensive and goes into minute detail on the background and educational attainment of business principals.

Likewise, a great deal of sophisticated planning must go into the business before the application is submitted. Written corporate bylaws must be included with the application and complete background checks are required. A Siting Profile is necessary for businesses connected with medical cannabis.

A lucrative, welcoming, and low-tax business environment awaits you in Massachusetts. However, opening a Massachusetts cannabis dispensary requires the right expertise from the very beginning.

The American Cannabis Company team has helped businesses all over the United States launch in the exciting and lucrative world of recreational and medical cannabis. For real insights from experienced professionals, contact us.