If I already have a medical marijuana recommendation from another state, can I use it to buy legal weed in Massachusetts?
Nope. You have to be registered IN Massachusetts in order to legally purchase medical marijuana in the state. However, state laws include a clause that allows patients visiting Massachusetts from other states to possess their own medical marijuana while in Massachusetts.
Can I take the weed that I buy in Massachusetts to another state?
If you’re planning to stock up in Massachusetts and then take a road trip, beware. If you travel across state lines, it’s possible that you could be charged with a federal felony -- even if you’re legally registered as someone who qualifies to use medical marijuana in Massachusetts.
Some states have reciprocity with others, which might honor another state’s medical marijuana prescriptions. Even so, taking marijuana across state lines is still illegal, and it would be smart to register with the state you’re visiting to purchase any marijuana you need from a dispensary in that state.
What about transporting it within the state? Can I do that?
You can only legally transport marijuana if you yourself are a registered medical marijuana patient, caregiver, or work for a registered marijuana dispensary. Otherwise, transporting marijuana (in any amount) is still illegal in Massachusetts. To be able to legally transport it, all you need is your medicinal marijuana ID card. Then -- and only then -- can you carry the legal amount that your doctor has prescribed you for your 60-day supply. That means you can carry up to 10 ounces of marijuana legally, unless your doctor has prescribed you more.
If you’re not the one buying or transporting marijuana, but you’re a registered caregiver, you’re allowed to bring a patient to and from a dispensary or purchase it and take it to them. People who work at dispensaries are allowed to transport marijuana to other dispensaries and to caregivers or registered patients as well.
When all is said and done, what will the cannabis industry look like in Massachusetts?
The licenses that will allow recreational marijuana dispensaries to open are currently being decided on by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), the five-member panel in charge of regulating Massachusetts’ marijuana industry. Massachusetts may also become the first state to issue social use licenses. The CCC’s draft regulations are apparently proposing two types -- primary and mixed use. It’ll break down like this:
Any business that makes more than half its money from the sale of marijuana products would need a primary use license. Sometimes this kind of business is known as a “cannabis cafe.” Think of spots like those in Amsterdam where you can get menus with the strains of the day. Unfortunately, it still hasn’t been resolved if you’d be able to smoke there or not. A mixed-use license would be required for businesses that want to sell marijuana as a product, but as a sideline to its principal business, like restaurants or cafes that might add a marijuana-infused dish to the menu, or movie theaters that might sell pot brownies, for example. If all of this business is resolved by the CCC for July, perhaps July 4 truly will feel like Independence Day, after all.
After that, Keogh explained that Massachusetts could end up with even more dispensaries than Colorado. It all boils down to population density; Massachusetts is much smaller geographically, with 20% more people than Colorado crammed into it. Colorado has just over 3,000 licensed marijuana businesses, total -- including growers, processors, and sellers spread out across the state. Massachusetts' population of 6.86 million and proximity to other big cities like New York would open the floodgates for much higher demand, by comparison. “There’s 50 million people with a four-hour drive time [to Massachusetts],” Keogh told us. Once all the pieces lock into place, "anyone over 21 years old can come and purchase marijuana... That’s what makes it, in my opinion, one of the most attractive markets to operate in, and I think it will grow.”