In 2016, Massachusetts legalized marijuana — the seventh state in the United States to do so. Before applying for a license to cultivate cannabis for medical- and recreational-use, businesses must complete go through a number of steps.
In this article, we answer frequently asked questions about how to get a Massachusetts cannabis cultivation license, the type of licenses that the state requires, and share other important information.
How does Massachusetts regulate cannabis businesses?
The Cannabis Control Commission regulates statewide medical-use and adult-use marijuana in Massachusetts. At the local level, cities and towns also have the authority to define how cannabis businesses operate and implement their own licensing process.
Another consideration for marijuana cultivation businesses are zoning laws. For instance, Massachusetts prohibits the cultivation of cannabis within 500 feet of a school.
Limits can also be placed on the number of facilities in a jurisdiction, and some cities and towns have banned adult-use marijuana facilities altogether.
What types of cultivation licenses does Massachusetts offer?
If you want to cultivate marijuana there are four licensing options, depending on whether you operate in the medical or recreational market and how you choose to operate your business.
Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (medical-use)
A Medical Marijuana Treatment Center is a business that cultivates, processes, and retails its own marijuana and marijuana products for medical use. A center can also deliver marijuana and marijuana products to registered qualifying patients. There is an application fee of $3,500 and $50,000 annual licensing fee.
Marijuana Cultivator (adult-use)
A cultivator business is licensed to cultivate, process, and package marijuana and transfer it to other marijuana establishments. Cultivators may select one of 11 tiers of operating space. The selected tier affects application and licensing fees.
- Tier 1 (up to 5,000 sq. ft.)
- Application fee: $200 (indoor), $100 (outdoor)
- Annual license fee: $1,250 (indoor), $625 (outdoor)
- Tier 11 (90,001 to 100,000 sq. ft.)
- Application fee: $2,000 (indoor), $1,500 (outdoor)
- Annual license fee: $50,000 (indoor), $25,000 (outdoor)