Massachusetts Marijuana Laws: Up-to-date

Massachusetts marijuana laws have been finalized and implemented, for the most part, as of 2019. Recreational use in specified amounts is legal in the Commonwealth, with some important restrictions. However, it is never legal to drive while high or to consume or smoke marijuana in public.

Here is what you need to know now when it comes to marijuana use in Massachusetts.

MA Recreational Marijuana Law for Adult Marijuana Use

Consumption of marijuana is limited to adults over 21 years old. Exceptions fall under the Medical Use Marijuana Program. See medical marijuana laws below.

Personal Possession

An adult age 21 and older may possess up to One Ounce of dry marijuana on their person outside of the home, or up to 5 Grams of marijuana concentrate.

You can possess up to 10 Ounces of marijuana in your personal residence.

Recreational Grow Law

An individual 21 years of age or older may grow and process 6 plants in their home. If more than one individual 21 years of age or older lives in the home and wishes to grow, the maximum number of plants that may be grown at the residence is 12 plants total.

Violations of the laws regarding home cultivation are subject to civil fines and forfeiture of the marijuana.

Civil Penalties for Violations of Recreational Use of Marijuana

Smoking /Consuming Marijuana in PublicCivil Fine Up To $100
Home-grown Plants Visible to the PublicCivil Fine Up To $300 and Forfeiture of the marijuana.
Violation of Locked Storage -Over 1 Ounce & All Home Plants Must be Under Lock.Civil Fine Up To $100 and Forfeiture of the marijuana.
Growing More than 6 but Fewer than 12 Marijuana PlantsCivil Fine Up To $100 and Forfeiture of Excess Plants.
18 – 20 year old Growing 12 or Fewer Plants (unless a Medical Use Patient)Civil Fine Up To $100 and Drug Awareness Program.
Under 18 Growing 12 or Fewer Plants (Medical Patient exception)Civil Fine Up To $100, Drug Awareness & Parent Notification.
Under 17 Growing 12 or Fewer Plants (Medical Patient exception)


Civil Fine Up To $100, Drug Awareness & Parent Notification. Possible Delinquency hearing proceedings.
Unauthorized Possession Outside of Home: Over 1 Ounce, Under 2 Ounces, Or Over 5 grams Marijuana ConcentrateCivil Fine Up To $100 and Forfeiture of Excess Marijuana.
Minors Attempting to Purchase / Using False IDs to Purchase MarijuanaCivil Fine Up To $100, Drug Awareness Program, Parent Notification.
Open Container in Vehicle – Packaging seal broken or marijuana used from pkg.Civil Fine Up To $500


In addition, you can be criminally charged for amounts exceeding those listed for any violation in the above chart! Read more about marijuana trafficking laws in Massachusetts.

It is also a crime to sell any amount of your personal use marijuana to another. However, MA marijuana laws allow adult users to gift specified amounts to other adults.

Gifting Marijuana

Massachusetts allows adults 21 and older to give away up to one ounce of marijuana to another person 21 years or older. The law also permits up to 5 grams of marijuana concentrate to be gifted.

No payments or compensation can be associated with the transfer. The gifting must be a private, unadvertised transfer. Failure to comply with all requirements under this law can lead to criminal prosecution for selling marijuana.

Medical Marijuana in Massachusetts  [Updated]

The new Medical Marijuana Law in MA transfers administration and oversight of the medical use marijuana program to the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC).

The CCC states that the Medical Marijuana Program rules and regulations will remain the same, except for two changes that add privacy protections to registered MMP users and exempt MMP purchases from sales tax.

Please note that neither the MA medical or recreational marijuana law changes the classification of marijuana under federal law as a Schedule I drug.

All Medical Marijuana Program Identification Cards will now be issued by the CCC. For information regarding MMP Users and gun rights, visit this page.

Criminal Marijuana Offenses

You can be criminally charged and prosecuted in Massachusetts for an unauthorized transfer of marijuana to anyone under 21 years old. A prosecutor and the judge can penalize you with a civil fine or with imprisonment upon a conviction.

Penalty for Unauthorized Transfer to Persons Under 21:

  • Civil Penalty: Up to a $2,000 fine
  • Criminal Penalty: Up to 1 Year in jail
  • OR: Both fine and jail-time.

In addition, it is against Massachusetts marijuana laws to knowingly allow persons under 21 years old to possess marijuana or marijuana products. The potential penalties are the same as for an illegal transfer to an underage person.

You will need a marijuana defense attorney to help you fight these charges, as the penalty could result in a criminal conviction with harsh punishments.

Expungement in Massachusetts: New! Get Marijuana Offense Records Removed

If were age 21 or younger at the time of a marijuana arrest, charge and conviction, you can apply to have all criminal records permanently erased from state databases, including the Commonwealth’s DNA Database.

Certain individuals who were over age 21 may also apply to have marijuana arrest and conviction records expunged or sealed.

Sealing restricts access to who can see the records upon request, such as employers, landlords and others.

To qualify for Massachusetts expungement of marijuana offense records, you must:

  • Have been age 21 or younger at the time of the offense, and
  • Had no further criminal court cases; OR
  • Qualify for a Wrongful Conviction expungement, irrespective of your age at the time of the offense.

If you are awaiting compensation or considering filing for reimbursement from Massachusetts as a result of chemists Annie Dookhan or Sonia Farak’s involvement in the drug lab scandals, you should first consult with a defense attorney before filing for expungement of your related records.

A Massachusetts expungement means the criminal records will be permanently destroyed. Other criminal offenses also apply for expungement in MA. To find out if you qualify, or for expungement petition services, call Oberhauser Law today: 978-452-1116.

Attorney Gregory Oberhauser

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Gregory Oberhauser is the ONLY attorney in Massachusetts to be distinguished as an ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist by the American Chemical Society!

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