Cannabis — Marijuana

Cannabis Legalization and Recreational Use Information


In 2016, Massachusetts residents voted to legalize the recreational use of cannabis (marijuana) for people 21 and older. Cambridge voters supported this measure with 71% in favor.

Cannabis Use in Massachusetts 

Adults age 21 or older may not legally consume cannabis anywhere in Massachusetts except on private residential property. Not in parks. Not in bars. Not in parking lots, streets, or cars. Violators may be fined up to $100 per incident. You may carry up to one ounce (28 grams) of cannabis flower or bud in public. Five grams of that may be a THC-containing concentrate. 

A landlord can ban smoking or vaping in your building. Landlords cannot keep you from using methods such as edibles, oils, tinctures, and ointments.

 “Cannabis products” include:

  • “Flower” or “bud” to smoke or to vape.
  • “Wax” or other cannabis concentrates to vape.
  • Edible products and beverages to ingest or drink.
  • Topical products, oils, tinctures, and ointments to apply.

Safety Precautions

  • Traveling. It is against the law to have an open container of cannabis or cannabis product in a motor vehicle. “Open container” means a package with a broken seal, or with some of the contents removed. Open containers must be kept in a locked glove compartment or trunk. Violations can result in a fine up to $500.
  • Secondhand smoke. Cannabis smoke has many of the same harmful chemicals as tobacco smoke. Do not smoke around children or anyone who does not want to be exposed to smoke.
  • Smart storage. At home, make sure your cannabis is kept locked up, out of reach and out of sight. Edibles can look like regular candy or baked goods and can be tempting for kids and pets.
  • Go slow with edibles. Edibles can take up to four hours to kick in. If you do not feel anything at first, give it some time before ingesting another dose.
  • Do not mix cannabis and alcohol. Using both at the same time can result in greater impairment than either one alone. Use with caution!

Driving Under the Influence

The Massachusetts recreational use law doesn’t change the existing state laws for operating a vehicle under the influence of cannabis. It is still illegal to drive or bike under the influence, and drivers are subject to fines and penalties already enforceable under state law.

Growing Plants

An adult or anyone with a valid MA medical marijuana identification card may grow up to six plants at home, but may possess no more than 12 plants per household. Plants can only be grown at a person’s primary residence in a locked or secured location. The plants cannot be visible from a public space without the use of binoculars, an aircraft, or other visual aids. As a safety precaution, it is recommended that anyone cultivating cannabis purchase and install appropriate lighting and mechanical equipment.

Medical Cannabis 

Dispensaries may pursue state-issued permits to co-locate recreational establishments, provided that local zoning permits are obtained. 

  • Adults or anyone with a valid Massachusetts medical marijuana identification card may possess up to 10 oz. of cannabis flower or up to 5 grams of concentrate in their residence. 
  • With a medical marijuana card, the allowable limit on possession of concentrate may be as high as 1.8 oz (or 51 grams), which is equivalent to a 60-day supply.

Additional Resources:

Cannabis Control Commission

Zoning and Licensing

City of Cambridge


The above information is not legal advice and should not be construed or relied on as such. It is a summary of certain information distributed by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. If you need legal advice, please consult your attorney.

Updated: June 7, 2022