Public Law

Updates on Public Law in Massachusetts from Anderson & Kreiger LLP


10 Things You Need to Know About the New Marijuana Law

  1. If your Town Voted against Question 4 to Legalize Marijuana for Recreational Use:
    The local legislative body (town meeting, city council, etc.) may adopt an ordinance or bylaw imposing limits on recreational marijuana establishments without a voter referendum as long as it does so before December 31, 2019.   After December 31, 2019 a voter referendum will be needed to impose any limits on recreational marijuana establishments.
  2. If your Town Voted “Yes” on Question 4:
    Approval by the voters of a ballot question authorizing the adoption of a bylaw or ordinance restricting  marijuana establishments must be obtained before the legislative body may enact such an ordinance or bylaw.
  3. Are there specific procedures for local ballot questions to ban or limit the number of recreational marijuana establishments?
    Yes.  See section 23 of Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017.
  4. Will recreational marijuana establishments need to enter into host community agreements prior to getting their license?
    Yes. A Marijuana establishment shall execute an agreement with the host community setting forth the conditions to have a marijuana establishment located within the host community which shall include, but not be limited to, all stipulations of responsibilities between the host community and the marijuana establishment and a host community may include a community impact fee for the host community; provided, however, that the community impact fee shall be reasonably related to the cost imposed upon the municipality by the operation of the marijuana establishment or medical marijuana treatment center and shall not amount to more than 3 per cent of the gross sales of the marijuana establishment or be effective for longer than 5 years.
  5. What is the sales tax rate for marijuana?
    Recreational marijuana will have a 6.25% sales tax; a 10.75% state excise tax; and a local-option tax of up to 3% that cities and towns may set.
  6. Who will be writing the rules and regulations for recreational marijuana?
    The Cannabis Control Commission (“Commission”), will be comprised of five commissioners appointed by the Governor, the Attorney General, and the State Treasurer.  These Commission is required to include a member with a background in public health, mental health, substance use or toxicology; a member with a background in public safety; a member with experience in corporate management, finance or securities; a member with professional experience in oversight or industry management, including commodities, production or distribution in a regulated industry and a member with a background in legal, political or social justice issues related to a regulatory industry.  The Commissioner appointments will take place no later than September 1, 2017 and the Commission will have until March 15, 2018 to issue their regulations.  The Commission will also oversee the States medical marijuana, which was previously regulated by the Department of Public Health.
  7. When can recreational marijuana establishments begin applying for their licenses?
    Recreational marijuana establishments may begin applying for their licenses in April 2018.
  8. When will Recreational Marijuana Establishment Licenses be issued?
    The first license will be issued in June.
  9. When will recreational marijuana establishments be allowed to open?
    Recreational Marijuana Establishments can open on July 1, 2018.
  10. How is home cultivation regulated?
    Adults over 21 can grow up to six plants in their home, with a maximum of 12 plants per household.

About the Author

George A. Hall, Jr. – Partner

George represents clients on local government issues, particularly zoning and other land use matters.

Posted In: Marijuana, Municipal Law

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