A Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana Use in Massachusetts

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Massachusetts is known for many things: the Pilgrim landing, the Salem witch trials, the invention of basketball, and some of the world’s most distinguished institutions of higher learning.

But these days, the Bay State is making the news feeds for something more herbal in nature: officially entering the marijuana market.

Before you run out and toke up before a walking tour of the state’s historical landmarks, make sure you know all the important facts about legalized weed.

Cannabis in Massachusetts

Voters approved the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative, or Question 3, in November 2012.

State voters passed Question 4 on November 2016, legalizing adult use marijuana and creating the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) to regulate marijuana statewide. The Question 4 ballot petition became Chapter 334 of the Acts of 2016, which later was amended to become Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017. The adult-use cannabis regulations officially took effect March 29, 2018. The CCC’s licensing system opened to priority applicants in April 2018 and to general applicants in May 2018.

Massachusetts’ first license for a recreational marijuana store was issued July 2, 2018.

Where and How to Buy

Though recreational marijuana sales haven’t officially begun, you can buy recreational cannabis at licensed retailers when sales are underway for the adult market. Check out Weedmaps (the parent company of Marijuana.com) for localized searches. Don’t worry, you shouldn’t have to wait too much longer.

Adults 21 and older can buy recreational marijuana at licensed retailers. Bring a valid photo ID to prove your age, and cash – since most retailers can’t deal with banks because of marijuana’s federal status as a Schedule I controlled substance.

What Isn’t Allowed

You can possess and use recreational marijuana if you are 21 or older, but there are limits to how much. You can have up to 1 ounce, or 28.35 grams, of marijuana on you, and up to 5 grams of which can be in the form of marijuana concentrate. In your home, you can have up to 10 ounces, or 283.5 g, of marijuana, including marijuana produced by plants cultivated there. Any amount over 1 ounce, or 28.35 g, kept in your home must be secured by a lock, and failing to do so can result in a penalty of up to $100 and forfeiture of the marijuana.

Public use of marijuana is prohibited and carries a potential penalty of up to $100. Stick to using it on private property, like your home.

Growing pot at home is allowed. Individuals 21 and older can grow a max of six plants, and if there’s more than one adult older than 21 growing in the same house, the max plant count is 12. Plants have to be grown in an area equipped with a lock or security device, and can’t be visible from a public place.

Recreational marijuana cannot be in an open container in your car. Keep it in a sealed container or in your trunk or locked glove compartment. It is still illegal to drive while impaired from using marijuana.

First-Time Use in Massachusetts

It’s an exciting time in Massachusetts for new marijuana users. But don’t forget to ease into the process.

Let yourself have fun with the new experience, but aim for a mellow high to start with rather than getting totally baked.

Build slowly and you’ll be sure to have a more enjoyable learning curve.

About Author

Jessica Peralta is a multimedia journalist with experience covering a wide range of topics, including courts and crime, police and fire, health, education and community news for outlets like the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register.

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