MA: State Issues Rules To Guide Legal Marijuana Industry

Photo Credit: Associated Press

The state’s Cannabis Control Commission on March 6 unanimously approved 935 CMR 500.00, the regulations for licensing and implementation of the adult-use cannabis industry in Massachusetts. The vote came nine days before the commission’s statutory deadline.

“Today’s meeting was the culmination of months of dogged dedication to an open and collaborative process that embraced the diversity of thought, experience, and perspective of Massachusetts residents in service of the people’s will,” said CCC Chairman Steven J. Hoffman. “Each commissioner was intentional, balanced, and respectful in the healthy push and pull that ultimately delivered a regulatory framework that will result in a retail market that is appropriate for Massachusetts. It was a thorough and necessary process to ensure that the Commonwealth’s unique needs around safety, equity, and commerce were represented in the final regulations.”

The unanimous vote was taken after a six-month process that included 10 listening sessions, nearly 500 public comments, and seven public hearings to deliberate on roughly 150 policies.

The final regulations include nine license categories: cultivator, craft marijuana cooperative, microbusiness, product manufacturer, independent testing laboratory, storefront retailer, third-party transporter, existing licensee transporter, and research facility, to meet the immediate needs of the industry.

Key Regulation Outcomes:

• First-in-the-nation requirement for Registered Marijuana Dispensaries (RMD) to maintain an adequate medical supply of marijuana products for patients that either equates to 35 percent of inventory, or the average, actual sales over the prior six months if co-located with an adult-use Marijuana Establishment.

• Priority status for Economic Empowerment Applicants to support licensees from communities and areas disproportionately impacted by high rates of arrest, conviction, and incarceration related to marijuana crimes.

• Universal symbols to indicate a marijuana product contains cannabis and is harmful to children;

• Executive Office of Energy and Environment Affairs’ (EEA) recommendations to reduce cultivator energy use and limit emissions in the Commonwealth;

• Flexible licensing and fee structure that promotes the inclusion of small- and large-scale business ventures, encourages responsible production, and allows growth.

“I’m excited to reach this important milestone; however, there is significant work ahead to launch a safe, robust, and vibrant adult-use cannabis industry,” said Shawn Collins, executive director of the Cannabis Control Commission. “The commissioners and I worked closely with our peers around the nation, sister agencies, policymakers, and community members who provided invaluable feedback to ensure that the regulations reflected best practices and addressed concerns. We are now focused on continuing to build our staff and implementing this progressive and innovative marketplace that puts the health and safety of our citizens first.”

The commission will incorporate language approved at the March 6 meeting into the final regulations before filing them with the Secretary of State.

Over the coming months, the commission has a number of additional milestones to reach, including:

• April 1: Begin accepting license applications

• June 1: Earliest date on which the commission may issue a license to operate a Marijuana Establishment.

• For more information, visit the commission’s website at or follow the commission on Twitter at @MA_Cannabis.