What law(s) govern the adult use of marijuana?
The 2016 ballot petition known as “Question 4” became Chapter 334 of the Acts of 2016. It created General Laws Chapter 94G which governs the adult use of marijuana and creates the Cannabis Control Commission (Commission). Chapter 334 and G.L. c.94G was amended by Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017. These laws are herein referred to as The 2017 Act, unless otherwise noted.
What kind of business license can I apply for?
The following license types are available:
- Craft Marijuana Cooperative
- Independent Testing Laboratory
- Marijuana Cultivator
- Marijuana Microbusiness
- Marijuana Product Manufacturer
- Marijuana Research Facility
- Marijuana Retailer
- Marijuana Third Party Transporter
- Marijuana Transporter with Other Existing Marijuana Establishment License
- Medical Marijuana Treatment Center
- Microbusiness Delivery Endorsement
- Standards Testing Laboratory
How can I get a license to grow or sell industrial hemp?
Under the law, industrial hemp can only be used for research purposes and for commercial purposes determined to be reasonable by the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR). The Massachusetts DAR is the agency responsible for this process.
How much marijuana can I have?
If you are over 21 years old, you may possess up to one ounce of marijuana on your person, except that not more than five grams of marijuana may be in the form of marijuana concentrate. In your home, you may possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana and any marijuana produced by plants cultivated on the premises. Any amount of marijuana or marijuana products over one ounce kept within your place of residence must be secured by a lock. Failure to keep marijuana and marijuana products in excess of one ounce locked up within the home may be punished by a civil penalty of up to $100 and forfeiture of the marijuana. See Know the Laws.
Can I smoke or consume adult-use marijuana products in public?
No, you cannot smoke adult-use marijuana in a place where you are prohibited from smoking tobacco and you cannot consume adult-use marijuana in a public place. The civil penalty is up to $100. See Know the Laws. Cities and towns may pass bylaws or ordinances authorizing exceptions in certain areas for social consumption.
Can I grow my own marijuana in my home?
Yes. The law allows an individual over 21 years of age to grow up to six plants in their home. If there are other individuals over 21 years of age living in the residence who wish to grow, the maximum number of plants that may be grown in a residence is 12 plants. The plants must be grown in an area that is equipped with a lock or security device. The plants cannot be visible from a public place without the use of binoculars, aircraft or other optical aids. An individual cannot produce cannabis-based extracts or concentrates at home by means of any liquid or gas, other than alcohol, that has a flashpoint below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. See Home Cultivation.
Can I drive with marijuana in my car?
Like alcohol, you may not have an open container of adult-use marijuana/marijuana products in the passenger area of your car while on the road or at a place where the public has access. An “open container” includes a package with its seal broken or a package from which the contents have been partially removed. The “passenger area” does not include a trunk or a locked glove compartment. The 2017 Act does not change the existing penalties for operating a car if you are impaired by the use of marijuana or marijuana products. You are strictly prohibited from consuming marijuana while operating a car. For specific information, see MGL c.90 § 24.
Can I smoke or consume adult-use marijuana/marijuana edibles at work?
An employer may restrict the consumption of marijuana in the workplace.
Can my city or town ban adult-use marijuana facilities?
Yes, but if your town voted for Question #4 on the 2016 state election ballot, entitled: “Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana,” the city or town must pass the ban through a ballot referendum measure where all voters of their town/city would have an opportunity to vote.
Does the adult-use marijuana law impact medical marijuana registration?
Your status as a patient does not change under the adult-use law. Under the 2017 Act, the Medical Use of Marijuana Program transferred from the Department of Public Health to the Commission. See Patients and Caregivers.
What if I have a question not answered here?
You can email us at Commission@CCCMass.com. You may also attend one of our public meetings and address the Commission when public comment is on the agenda. Please note, however, that the Commission cannot provide individual legal advice. Our meeting schedules, locations, and agendas are available here on our website.
What cities and towns have been designated as areas of disproportionate impact?
Based primarily on arrest rates, the Commission has designated 29 cities as areas of disproportionate impact. Cities with a population of more than 100,000 people, such as Springfield and Worcester, will be subdivided to reflect that only certain neighborhoods qualify as areas of disproportionate impact.
Notice: Asterisks notes that certain neighborhoods to be designated by the Commission.
- Fall River
- New Bedford
- North Adams
- West Springfield
How does the Commission define “Advertising”?
The Cannabis Control Commission’s (Commission) regulations define advertising as: “A form of marketing communication that employs a sponsored, non-personal message to sell or promote Marijuana Establishment or Medical Marijuana Treatment Center’s (ME or MTC) Brand Name, Branded Good, service, or idea.”
“Brand Name” is a brand name (alone or in conjunction with any other word), registered trademark, logo, symbol, motto, selling message, recognizable pattern of colors, or any other identifiable marker associated with an ME or MTC. A “Branded Good” is merchandise offered for sale by an ME or MTC that is identifiable by the ME or MTC Brand Name on the item. A Branded Good does not include Marijuana, Marijuana Products, or Marijuana Accessories; and may be an apparel item, a water bottle, or other similar non-edible merchandise.
What types of Branded Goods can a licensed ME or MTC sell?
The Commission’s regulations limit the type of items that MEs and MTCs can sell as Branded Goods. A Branded Good may include apparel, water bottles, or other similar non-edible merchandise, but may not include Marijuana, Marijuana Products, or Marijuana Accessories. For the purposes of this document, packaging and labeling created by an ME/MTC is not considered a Branded Good. Licensees are allowed to include their Brand Name and/or logo on their packaging.
This means an ME or MTC may use its Brand Name on and sell the following Branded Goods: t-shirts, water bottles, cups, drink holders, key chains, hats or other apparel items, electronic equipment or accessories, sporting equipment, novelty items, and similar portable items. However, Marijuana, Marijuana Products, or Marijuana Accessories (e.g., vaporizers, pipes, bongs, or any item used to introduce Marijuana to the human body) may not be sold as Branded Goods. A grinder, lighter, or rolling tray, for example, are not considered Marijuana Accessories and therefore may be sold as a Branded Good.
What kind of messages are prohibited on Branded Goods like t-shirts?
While a licensee may use advertising to promote its business and Brand Name on non-Marijuana related goods, it cannot sell a Branded Good with Marijuana or a Marijuana Product advertised on it. In other words, an ME or MTC may not use Branded Goods to promote Marijuana or Marijuana Products. For example, a t-shirt with “Try Blue Dream X Pineapple Express at ABC Dispensary” printed on it would be prohibited. However, a t-shirt with “ABC Dispensary” printed on it would be allowed because it only promotes the entity’s Brand Name. MEs and MTCs should ensure that their advertising does not focus on Marijuana, or a specific Marijuana Product, available for sale.
Please note that Branded Goods do not include Marijuana Accessories. Therefore, an ME or MTC may not use its Brand Name on a Marijuana Accessory.
Can a Branded Good include the name of a business and/or business logo?
Yes, a Branded Good may include an ME or MTC Brand Name, registered trademark, logo, symbol, motto, selling message, recognizable pattern of colors, or any other identifiable marker associated with the licensee.
When developing Branded Goods, licensees should maintain compliance with the restrictions on advertising outlined above to ensure that they are not promoting Marijuana or Marijuana Products.
Are licensees allowed to sell a Branded Good and use the proceeds to support a charity or non-profit as part of a Plan to Positivity Impact Areas of Disproportionate Impact?
Yes, this is allowed. However, prior to making any donation to a charity or non-profit as part of a Plan to Positively Impact Areas of Disproportionate Impact (Positive Impact Plan), the licensee must obtain written correspondence from the recipient organization indicating that they will accept the donation. This relationship should be disclosed within the Positive Impact Plan and the certified letter should be included in the license application.
For more information about Positive Impact Plans and their requirements, please refer to the Guidance on Plans to Positively Impact Disproportionately Harmed People and the Guidance on Licensure.
Can licensees provide branded apparel containing their business name and/or logo to employees?
Yes, licensees may give branded apparel to their employees as a workplace uniform, provided that it does not appeal to anyone under the age of 21.
When advertising using different mediums (e.g., radio, podcast, broadcasting, spoken word, or video), what should be considered?
Before an ME or MTC seeks to advertise, they should ensure that the medium – such as television, radio, internet, mobile application, social media, or other electronic communication; billboards or other outdoor advertising; or print publication – targets an audience of which 85% of the population is reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older. Licensees should use reliable and current audience composition data to determine audience makeup. The Commission may request to see and/or verify the information used for these purposes.
In addition to the requirements highlighted above, there are further limitations on advertising noted in the adult- and medical-use cannabis regulations. Please refer to 935 CMR 500.105(4) and 935 CMR 501.105(4) for more information.
Can standalone Marijuana Product Manufacturers, Microbusinesses, Craft Marijuana Cooperatives, or Cultivators sell Branded Goods?
Yes, standalone Marijuana Product Manufacturers, Marijuana Microbusinesses, Craft Marijuana Cooperatives, and Marijuana Cultivators can sell Branded Goods wholesale to another ME in compliance with the Commission’s regulations. Additionally, Marijuana Product Manufacturers, Marijuana Microbusinesses, Craft Marijuana Cooperatives, and Marijuana Cultivators may sell their Branded Goods via their own e-commerce platforms, however, they may not sell such items directly to consumers from their physical location. Marijuana Couriers and Marijuana Delivery Operators may sell Branded Goods to consumers as part of completing a delivery order. Additionally, licensees must ensure customers are 21 years of age or older when they purchase the item and continue to maintain compliance with all advertising requirements set forth in 935 CMR 500.105(4)(b)(15).
Can a logo or company name include the words “Cannabis”, “THC”, or “Marijuana”?
Yes, the Commission allows the terms “Cannabis”, “THC”, and “Marijuana,” which describe the regulated product, to be used in logos and business names. However, colloquial references to Marijuana, including terms commonly used in pop culture to describe Marijuana, are not allowed, and will be evaluated for compliance.
Can an ME use descriptive clauses or phrases such as “Recreational Marijuana Dispensary” or “Cannabis Dispensary” on store signage?
Yes, these descriptive clauses on store signage do not violate the Commission’s advertising regulations. MEs and MTCs must also comply with local ordinances pertaining to the types of allowable descriptive text on store signage.
Can an ME offer free or discounted Marijuana or Marijuana Products or offer promotions, giveaways, coupons, or rewards programs that offer free or reduced-price Marijuana or Marijuana Products?
No, an ME may not offer free or reduced-price Marijuana or Marijuana Products as part of a marketing scheme or rewards program. However, MTCs may offer free or reduced Marijuana or Marijuana Products and may offer rewards programs, coupons, or other discounts of Marijuana or Marijuana Products to Registered Qualifying Patient.
 See 935 CMR 500.002 and 935 CMR 501.002.
 See 935 CMR 500.002 and 935 CMR 501.002.
 See 935 CMR 500.002 and 935 CMR 501.002.
The Commission held an Applicant Forum on January 23, 2020 to hear directly from applicants for licensure and all other constituents about their experience with Massachusetts’ licensing process. This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document is a summary of the most frequently raised issues discussed during that session.
Comprehensive answers to many questions about Massachusetts’ Marijuana Establishment licensing process can be found in the Guidance on Licensure.
Social Equity Program-specific questions and answers are also covered here.
Please note: The Commission is prohibited from providing applicants with legal advice or business consultation.
Why is my application taking so long to be reviewed?
The Commission is committed to ensuring applications are reviewed for completeness and conform with state regulations and laws. Rather than give applicants only one opportunity to submit all their required materials before going to the Commission for a vote, Commission staff reopens applications and works with applicants to obtain all of the information needed before a recommendation is made to Commissioners to approve or deny the application. Applications may need to be reopened to get more information from the applicants. Incomplete applications cannot be approved. Commission staff are working as quickly as possible to process applications while maintaining a deep commitment to maintaining a safe and fair licensed industry.
State law mandates that Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MTCs) and Certified Economic Empowerment applicants receive priority review. Licensing Department staff follow state law by reviewing these applications first, followed by general applications. Recently, the Commission voted to grant expedited review status to other application categories. Expedited applications are those submitted by Social Equity participants, Marijuana Microbusiness applicants, Craft Marijuana Cooperative applicants, Independent Testing Laboratory applicants, Outdoor Marijuana Cultivator applicants, minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, and veteran-owned businesses.
Cannabis prohibition disproportionately affected my community and me, but I don’t see licenses going to this community. Does the Commission care about equity?
Yes. The Commission is committed to ensuring an equitable industry is developed in accordance with state law and its mission statement. Various policies and programs,
including the nation’s first statewide Social Equity Program, have been designed to address the disproportionate impact of the War on Drugs on certain populations and communities.
Certified Economic Empowerment applicants and Social Equity Program applicants receive benefits through the Commission, including the following:
- Priority or expedited review in the Commission’s licensing review process when a completed license application is received;
- Fee waivers;
- Pre-certification and exclusive access to social consumption and delivery licenses for two years when applications become available; and
- Exclusive access to certain license types
Qualified Social Equity Program participants also are eligible for training and technical assistance across four teaching tracks. The first cohort of program participants are expected to complete their training this spring. As noted above, the Commission also expedites the review of applications for certified Women-, Minority-, and Veteran-Owned businesses to the head of the licensing queue irrespective of their status as a Certified Economic Empowerment applicant or Social Equity Program participant.
To hold itself accountable on this issue, the Commission provides the public ongoing access to licensee and Marijuana Establishment (ME) agent data through the Commission’s Open Data Platform and regular data updates at monthly public meetings.
Can the Commission grant me a license before I have a business location?
No. In order to receive a license for an ME, applicants must have a location designated. Applicants must also have the approval of the municipality in which they are located, through a Host Community Agreement (HCA). The Commission does not require that the property is fully built-out at the time of application. After receiving a Provisional License, licensees may submit to the Commission an Architectural Review Plan. If approved, licensees may then build their facility.
Municipalities may have their own zoning and other local ordinances that must be complied with as well. Municipal information can often be difficult to find, so the Commission has created a Municipal Zoning Tracker to assist in locating that information. For more guidance on zoning or siting issues, we recommend you contact the municipality within which you hope to locate your business. You can locate the appropriate contact information by clicking
on the name of the municipality in the Municipal Zoning Tracker. The Commission has also developed a Guidance for Municipalities on Equity and Host Community Agreements that offers guidance and tips to cities and towns.
Will the Commission consider waiving the requirement for an interest in property or real estate?
Social Equity Program participants as well as Certified Economic Empowerment applicants seeking a Social Consumption license may get pre-certified prior to submitting a full application. Pre- certification does not require a specific location or HCA to be submitted. Please note, however, that full applications require the entity be tied to a specific location, and often the various plans and policies are tied to that location. For instance, the Commission is concerned about how the entity intends to secure the specific facility and how the entity intends to positively impact the individuals that were disproportionately harmed in that region.
Why can’t I get pre-certified before I am required to complete the total application?
The pre-certification application will be available to those who wish to apply for Delivery- Only and Social Consumption Licenses when they become available. Please see page 40 of the Guidance on Licensure for additional details.
Can the Commission assign an Application Manager to be a point-person for me and to ensure my application gets reviewed by only one individual?
Commission staff have reviewed the suggestion that applicants be assigned an individual Licensing Department staff member so that applicants know who to contact for more information and to get updates on their application reviews. Currently, applications are reviewed based on priority/expedited status and then by the time the application is initially received. Staff conduct supplemental reviews based in the same order and having an individual assigned to a single application could preclude staff from following this policy. The Commission recently increased personnel in the Licensing Department to meet demand and will continue to review applications quickly and thoroughly.
Why can’t dedicated Commission staff give advice to Certified Economic Empowerment applicants?
The Commission is a regulatory agency responsible for reviewing ME applications and determining whether the applications are compliant with Adult-Use (935 CMR 500.00) and Medical-Use (935 CMR 501.000) regulations. Our role as regulators prevents us from providing one-on-one guidance on how to write an application for any applicant, regardless of their status.
While we are prohibited from providing one-on-one consultation, the Commission can and does provide clarification on licensing requirements and our interpretation of the regulations via guidance documents. More specifically and as mentioned above, the Commission developed a guidance for the licensing process, which can be found here.
Can Certified Economic Empowerment applicants obtain confirmation or documentation demonstrating their status to be used in municipal and other interactions?
Yes. The Licensing Department has previously communicated with Certified Economic Empowerment applicants regarding how they may obtain this documentation. Please contact Licensing@CCCMass.com to receive this notice.
Can the Commission help me fill out my Social Equity Program application?
Yes, since the Social Equity Program is not a license type, the Commission is able to assist. The Commission is planning three clinic events in the coming months at computer labs across the Commonwealth in order to assist individuals with their Social Equity Program applications in real time. Please sign up for the Social Equity Program’s mailing list here to receive details when they are released.
Can the Commission work one-on-one with us to prepare our applications?
No. Please see Questions #6 and #7 above. The Commission has, however, developed an in-depth Guidance on Licensure which aims to serve as a manual for the application process.
The Commission has also established a Social Equity Program that aims to provide eligible participants with training and technical assistance ranging from the application process to successfully operating any of the available license types. The Program also includes tracks for entry-level employment as well as ancillary business types. Applications for the second cohort of this program will be accepted until May 1, 2020.
Why isn’t there guidance for financing your business?
The Commission does not require you to have a specific or minimum amount of capital for your business, but we do ask you to disclose the amounts and sources of any capital. The Commission published a Guidance for Business for all license applicants in 2018. For best advice around business planning, however, the Commission recommends that applicants consult a licensed attorney, accountant, financial advisor, or other professional service, who can advocate for you and advise you on what is in your business’ best interests. Ultimately, it is the applicant’s responsibility to prudently finance their business in accordance with the law. Furthermore, the Commission is prohibited from providing applicants with direct legal advice or business consultation. Please note that many professional service providers, such as those listed above, may offer discounts or pro bono services to certain applicants (e.g. Certified Economic Empowerment applicants, Social Equity Program participants, disadvantaged business enterprises, etc.).
Why is only one business owner listed on the portal?
Typically, one person associated with the license application is listed as its primary contact within the Massachusetts Cannabis Industry Portal (MassCIP). The business email address provided is used for all correspondence between the applicant and the Commission during license application review.
The MassCIP shows all individuals and entities that have an ownership or control interest of 10% or more in an ME. Extensive records are kept regarding who is involved with the proposed business, along with their background information and required disclosures.
Why doesn’t the Commission host meetings around the state more often?
The Commission has hosted many meetings Commonwealth-wide and will continue to host public hearings throughout the state over the course of its regulatory development process. The agency recently moved its headquarters from Boston to Worcester, in large part because of its central location and accessibility to constituents throughout the Commonwealth. The Union Station headquarters and its public meeting space are accessible by public transit, including the commuter rail, and also has garage parking available. The Commission publishes all public meeting materials and livestreams its public meetings to its social media pages online so that those interested in viewing the meeting can watch if they cannot attend in person. Commission staff travel the state inspecting facilities and ensure that all licensees are in full compliance with the law.
Why are all MTCs allowed to get priority status instead of those who were already operational at the time the process began?
The law that established adult-use cannabis and the Commission (Ch. 55 of the Acts of 2017, 56) requires the Commission to give priority review status to MTCs and EEAs that received priority review status in April, 2018. The Commission adopted and implemented a policy in October 2019 that an applicant can only utilize its MTC priority status for an adult-use application where the proposed ME will be colocated with the MTC and perform the same type of operations.
Why can’t the Commission create a Social Equity Program fund?
The Commission does not have the legal authority to create a fund under state law. Only the Legislature has the authority to create laws and establish such funds. The Commission has, however, advocated for the establishment of such a fund.
Is there a cap to the number of investors we can have?
No. There is no limit to the number of investors for an application. Depending upon their involvement in the proposed ME or their percentage of ownership or control, however, they may be required to be listed on the application itself and be subject to the Commission’s background check. State law does, however, limit the number of licenses in which any entity or individual may have an ownership or controlling interest, so applicants and licensees are reminded to consider license caps when investing in or contracting with MEs. Please refer to the guidances for business and licensure for more information.
Can the Commission develop a timeline so applicants know when to expect these licensing decisions on their applications?
The Commission is finalizing a MassCIP update that will provide license applicants, and the public, with access to the application queue. This system will be publicly available and updated periodically to show an applicant’s progress in the licensing review process and queue.
This resource will detail whether an application is pending a review or was reopened to allow the applicant to provide new or updated information, and whether the application is receiving priority or expedited review. This information will help prospective licensees estimate the amount of time until they reach the next milestone in the process and anticipate business needs. Please sign up for our mailing list here to receive additional details on when this functionality will become available.
The Commission considers and reviews applications based on their submission date. Only those applicants that have been granted priority or expedited review would receive accelerated review of their materials. That status applies to both initial and any supplemental reviews.
Licensing inspections occur at the request of licensees based on the readiness of their facility. Once requested, the Commission will schedule a time for staff to visit the facility and inspect for compliance. Once an entity has commenced their operations, the Commission may also conduct periodic unannounced inspections.
Why can’t the background check happen earlier in the licensing process?
Background checks are initiated once an application has been deemed complete and occur largely at the expense of the applicant. Prior to being deemed complete, an application may be amended several times, and those amendments may pertain to individuals or entities with ownership or control. If the Commission were to initiate a background check prior to an application being deemed complete, the entity may incur additional and unnecessary expenses.
Historically, some forms associated with the background check, once executed, were valid for only short periods of times (e.g. 90 days). This would often result in forms expiring while the application was pending, and ultimately require the application to be reopened for new forms to be executed. However, based on updates to the Commission’s background check that occurred several months ago, the existing forms are now valid for at least one calendar year once executed.
Please also refer to Question #5. The Commission’s pre-certification process grants some applicants seeking Social Consumption and Delivery-Only Licenses with the ability to have their background checks conducted earlier in the application process.
Why do I have another Request for Information (RFI) when I already had one previously?
There is no limit to the number of RFIs an applicant may receive; RFI notices are based upon a staff determination that the information contained in the application at the time of review is not substantially in compliance with the adult or medical use of marijuana regulations. The RFI enables the Commission to inform applicants about the specific sections of the application that require further information, clarification, or editing in order to demonstrate compliance with the applicable regulations.
The Commission reviews each application in its entirety, including all three individual packets, before issuing an RFI and does not restrict or limit the amount of time an applicant has to resubmit their application. Once resubmitted, the application returns to the queue based on its original timestamp and would continue to enjoy its priority or expedited status, if applicable.
The Commission reopened my application because I used LLc vs. LLC…why?
The Commission has not reopened an application solely based on capitalization typos. If the Commission identifies other problems with an application that result in an RFI being issued, staff will identify typographical errors, inconsistent business names, or other similar errors as well as the primary problems with the application in the RFI in an effort to provide the applicant with a complete and comprehensive notice, and allow them to fix any issues while they are working on the application.
Why doesn’t the Commission allow for auto-fill or copy/paste of certain sections throughout the application?
The Commission recently updated MassCIP to allow for certain fields (e.g. company name) of the application to be automatically populated.
Why do I need to have a letter from the non-profit or charity that I intend to donate to indicating they would accept my donation?
A letter is needed because some non-profit or charitable entities, especially those that serve youth populations, are prohibited by law or contract from receiving funds from certain sources, such as firearms, tobacco, and alcohol. They may also prohibit donations from MEs, which would ultimately lead to an inability of a licensee to comply with specific provisions of their Plan to Positively Impact Disproportionately Harmed People.
Why did the Commission reopen my application to ask me about the size, shape, and flavor of my proposed edibles?
The Commission’s regulations expressly prohibit the manufacture or sale of edible products that are in the shapes of humans, animals, or fruits, or that may bear a likeness to cartoons or other artistic renderings. The packaging and labeling of such products may also not resemble products that are typically marketed to minors. As a result, applicants are asked to confirm that the products they intend to manufacture would not violate these various restrictions.
Why aren’t Social Consumption and Delivery Licenses available?
During its 2019 regulatory review, the Commission authorized a pilot program for a Social Consumption License and expects to start accepting license applications for adult-use cannabis delivery in the spring of 2020. A Delivery-Only License type will be offered exclusively for Certified Economic Empowerment Priority applicants, Social Equity Program participants, and Microbusinesses with a Delivery Endorsement from the Commission, for an initial period of two years. Delivery for adult-use cannabis consumers will be permitted in municipalities in which retail sales are permitted, delivery businesses are located, and those that notify the Commission that delivery is permitted within their borders. Please reference the Municipal Zoning Tracker for more information on individual municipalities.
Please note, however, that the Commission’s social consumption pilot program cannot begin without a change in state law that will first allow cities and towns to authorize social consumption in their communities.
Can Marijuana Establishments (“MEs”) and Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (“MTCs”) sell/dispense Clones to consumers and Registered Qualifying Patients?
Yes. Licensed adult-use Marijuana Retailers and dispensing MTCs may purchase at wholesale Clones from Marijuana Cultivators and cultivating MTCs, and sell them directly to consumers and Registered Qualifying Patients.
Is there a sales limit on how many Clones an ME or MTC may sell to a consumer or Registered Qualifying Patient?
Yes. Marijuana Retailers and dispensing MTCs cannot sell more than six (6) Clones to an individual adult-use cannabis consumer or Registered Qualifying Patient per day. Clones should be tracked as units in the Commission’s seed-to-sale system of record, Metrc.
Are Clones subject to testing requirements?
Yes. Clones are subject to pesticide screening per regulations 935 CMR 500.160(7), 935 CMR 501.160(7), and the Commission’s Protocol for Sampling and Analysis of Finished Marijuana and Marijuana Products for Marijuana Establishments, Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers, and Colocated Marijuana Operations.
How are Clones categorized in the Commission’s seed-to-sale system of record, Metrc?
Clones should be categorized as immature plants in Metrc.
What labeling requirements should Licensees follow for retail-ready Clones?
Clones are subject to the labeling requirements specified under the Commission’s regulations, including 935 CMR 500.105(5)(a) and 935 CMR 501.105(5)(a), Labeling of Marijuana not sold as a Marijuana Product, but excluding the requirement to list the full Cannabinoid Profile.
How are Clones tracked in the seed-to-sale system of record, Metrc?
Clones will continue to be tracked as immature plant batches at the cultivation level, as specified in the Commission’s Seed-to-Sale Tracking Guidance. Clones intended for sale to consumers or Registered Qualifying Patients must be packaged and tagged as any other package destined for retail. Licensees can sell Clones individually or in groups, not to exceed six (6) plants; however, they must meet the packaging regulations outlined in 935 CMR 500.105(6) and 935 CMR 501.105(6). Clones assigned to a package tag shall not exceed three (3) containers, each weighing no more than fifty (50) pounds.
Will Clone purchases count towards a Patient Allotment?
No. Clones are not consumable marijuana that a patient could ingest within sixty (60) days. While Clone purchases will not be tracked against a patient’s 60-day supply, the purchase will still be tracked in the Commission’s seed-to-sale system of record, Metrc.
How long can a retailer store Clones for sale?
Cultivating licensees must establish the shelf life for Clones sent to adult and medical retailers, which would be reflected in standard operating procedures (“SOPs”). Any Clones that are not sold in the designated shelf-life timeframe must be disposed of in accordance with the Commission’s regulations, including 935 CMR 500.105(12), 935 CMR 501.105(12), and the relevant licensee’s SOPs on waste management.
Is the “Delivery Only” license type the same as the “Marijuana Courier” license type?
Yes, the name for the Delivery Only license was changed to “Marijuana Courier” and is the same license type.
If I originally applied for, or was approved for a Delivery Only license, can I convert it to a Marijuana Delivery Operator license?
No. Even if you have previously applied for Pre-Certification or Licensure for Delivery Only (now Courier), you will have to start a new Pre-Certification application for the Marijuana Delivery Operator license.
If you previously applied to operate as a Delivery Only licensee, or were issued that license, your application or license will automatically convert to the Marijuana Courier license type.
What is the difference between a Marijuana Courier, Marijuana Delivery Operator, and a Delivery Endorsement?
The Marijuana Courier and Marijuana Delivery Operator licenses are both stand-alone license types allowed to perform different operations. Marijuana Couriers are allowed to deliver marijuana and marijuana products to consumers and patients from a Marijuana Retail Establishment or Medical Marijuana Treatment Center. Delivery Operators are allowed to purchase marijuana and marijuana products from licensed Marijuana Cultivators and Marijuana Product Manufacturers and sell and deliver to consumers. Marijuana Couriers cannot store marijuana and marijuana products overnight whereas Marijuana Delivery Operators may securely store on its premises marijuana and marijuana products that have been purchased at wholesale for eventual resale to consumers.
A Delivery Endorsement is expanded permission to perform delivery operations that is added to an existing license. It is like having a driver’s license for a car and then getting permission to operate a motorcycle and receiving a motorcycle endorsement. Currently, Delivery Endorsements are available only to Marijuana Microbusinesses with majority ownership comprised of Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants and/or Social Equity Program Participants for a period of at least 36 months from the date the first Delivery Operator licensee receives a notice to commence operations.
Who can apply for a Delivery license?
Marijuana Courier and Marijuana Delivery Operator licenses and Delivery Endorsements are limited, on an exclusive basis, to businesses controlled by, and with majority ownership comprised of, Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants and/or Social Equity Program Participants for a period of at least 36 months from the date the first Delivery Operator licensee receives a notice to commence operations.
Can a Delivery applicant or licensee have, or obtain, a Marijuana Retailer license?
Individuals and entities are limited to applying for and obtaining no more than two (2) delivery licenses. The limitation for delivery licenses is not tied to the amount an individual or entity can obtain for retail licenses—which remains at no more than three (3).
What restrictions are in place to prevent retailers or third-party companies from controlling delivery businesses?
Individuals and entities can hold only a limited number of Marijuana Retailer and Delivery licensees.
Marijuana Retailers, Delivery licensees, and Microbusinesses with Delivery Endorsements may work with Third-Party Technology Platform Providers which provide or host internet-based applications for the facilitation of ordering and delivering cannabis. All agreements between a Delivery licensee and a Third-Party Technology Platform Provider, however, shall be available for inspection and are subject to the control limitations under 935 CMR 500.050: Marijuana Establishments, including:
- A Third-Party Technology Platform Provider cannot be a licensee, or a Person or Entity with Direct or Indirect Control, as defined by 935 CMR 500.002: Fees, of a Delivery licensee.
- A contract between a Delivery licensee and a Third-Party Technology Platform Provider shall be negotiated and entered into on an arm’s length basis. A Delivery licensee may not accept any investment by a Third-Party Technology Platform Provider with which it has a contract.
- A Delivery licensee cannot share its profits of the sale of marijuana or marijuana products with a Third-Party Technology Platform Provider, or otherwise provide a percentage or portion of the sale of marijuana or marijuana products to the Third-Party Technology Platform Provider.
What is the application process to apply for a Delivery license?
For an applicant to receive a Delivery license, they must complete two (2) applications that will occur in two (2) phases: Phase 1 – the pre-certification application, and Phase 2 – the provisional license application. All applicants will be required to complete both applications in phases. Phase 1 is completing the pre-certification application. Once you receive an approval letter stating you are pre-certified, you will be able to start and finish Phase 2 which is completing the provisional license application.
As a note, there are two separate pre-certification applications, one for each Delivery license type that have specific and distinct requirements. While an applicant can be pre-certified for both license types, they must be pre-certified for the license type they are applying for and cannot use another pre-certification in its place.
What is required to be submitted as part of the pre-certification application?
The following is a list of application requirements for the pre-certification application:
- Information about the business:
- Legal business name;
- Tax identification number;
- Contact information;
- Disadvantaged Business Enterprise information, if applicable; and
- Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicant and Social Equity Program Participant certification numbers (these numbers start with either “EE” or “SE”)
- Information pertaining to Persons and Entities Having Direct or Indirect Control;
- Business interests in other jurisdictions, and within Massachusetts, of any Persons and Entities Having Direct or Indirect Control;
- Background check and contact information for any Persons and Entities Having Direct or Indirect Control—background check authorization documents are not required until the provisional license application;
- Upload a business plan and a plan for obtaining limited liability insurance; and
- Upload operating policies and procedures that comply with the Commission’s regulations including the following:
- Security plan;
- Transportation plan;
- Inventory plan;
- Plan to prevent diversion;
- Storage plan;
- Delivery plan;
- Quality control and testing;
- Record-keeping procedures;
- Maintenance of financial records;
- Qualifications and intended trainings for personnel;
- Plan to obtain marijuana and marijuana products (Marijuana Courier license type)
- Personnel policies; and
- Dispensing procedures (for Marijuana Delivery Operators).
Applicants are encouraged to review the Commission’s Guidance on Licensure for further clarification on application requirements.
What can I expect when my pre-certification application is deemed complete?
When a pre-certification application is deemed complete, the application will move to the “Applications Deemed Complete” queue within the Massachusetts Cannabis Industry Portal (MassCIP). The applicant does not need to take any additional steps until notified by email from the Commission.
When the applicant is approved for pre-certification, a notice (including a copy of the pre- certification application) will be sent to the business email on the application explaining next steps which will include starting the next phase of the application—the provisional license application.
How long is my pre-certification valid for?
Pre-certified applications are valid for 24 months from the date of the approval notice. Applicants must start the provisional license application within 24 months from when they were pre-certified; otherwise, a new pre-certification application will need to be completed and approved.
What is required to be submitted as part of the provisional license application?
The following is a list of application requirements for the provisional license application:
- Amend or supplement any outdated information from what was submitted in the pre- certification application;
- Disclose the proposed location of the Delivery license and submit property interest documentation;
- Disclose capital resources along with supporting documentation;
- Disclose, if known, all current agreements between the applicant and Third-Party Technology Platform Providers (both Delivery license types) and Marijuana Retailers (for Marijuana Couriers only);
- Submit additional documentation which includes the following:
- Certification of Host Community Agreement;
- Community Outreach Meeting attestations and documentation;
- Plan to remain compliant with local ordinances;
- Positive Impact Plan;
- Diversity Plan;
- Bond or escrow account;
- Background authorization forms;
- Certificates of good standing from the Department of Revenue, Secretary of the Commonwealth, and Department of Unemployment Assistance;
- White labeling and wholesale agreements, where applicable for Marijuana Delivery Operators; and
- A proposed timeline to become operational.
Will I have to re-enter the information from the pre-certification application into the provisional license application?
No. When you start your provisional license application, the previously submitted information will transfer from your approved pre- certification application. If previously submitted information has changed or is outdated, you will need to update that information at the provisional license application stage. For example, you will need to add individuals newly associated with your application.
What is the application fee for a Delivery license and when do I pay it?
The application fee for a Marijuana Delivery Operator or a Marijuana Courier license application is $1,500, however, license application fees are automatically waived ($0) for businesses controlled by and with majority ownership comprised of Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants or Social Equity Program Participants.
What are the license fees for a Marijuana Delivery Operator and Marijuana Courier license and when do I pay it?
The annual license fee is $5,000 for a Marijuana Courier and $10,000 for a Delivery Operator. However, the annual license fees for Delivery licensee businesses controlled by and with majority ownership comprised of Social Equity Program Participants and/or Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants are the following:
- For the first year: $0
- For the second year and every following year: $2,500 for a Marijuana Courier and $5,000 for a Delivery Operator license (50% reduction)
What is the application process to apply for a Delivery Endorsement?
Licensed Marijuana Microbusinesses may electronically submit a Delivery Endorsement application through MassCIP. This application process involves one (1) application instead of the two-part application process for Delivery licenses. Delivery Endorsements are only available to businesses controlled by and with majority ownership comprised of Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants or Social Equity Program Participants for a period of 36 months from the date the first Delivery Operator Licensee receives a notice to commence operations.
What is required to be submitted as part of the Delivery Endorsement application?
The applicant will confirm certain business information. In addition to that confirmation, applicants for a Delivery Endorsement will have to submit the following information:
- Plan to remain compliant with local ordinances relating to delivery;
- Delivery plan;
- Security plan for delivery, and
- Agreements with Third-Party Technology Platform Providers.
What is the application fee for a Delivery Endorsement and when do I pay it?
Generally, the application fee for a Delivery Endorsement is $500. This fee is paid prior to submission of the application.
Currently, while Delivery Endorsements are available only to Marijuana Microbusinesses controlled by and with a majority ownership comprised of Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants and/or Social Equity Program Participants during a 36-month exclusivity period, the application fee is waived ($0).
What is the annual license fee for a Delivery Endorsement and when do I pay it?
The annual license fee for a Delivery Endorsement is $5,000. However, as Delivery Endorsements are available only to Marijuana Microbusinesses controlled by and with a majority ownership comprised of Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants and/or Social Equity Program Participants during an exclusivity period, the fee is reduced by 50% and is $2,500.
Additionally, because the endorsement is tied to the license, the fee is prorated based on the remaining time on the license. This fee is required to be paid upon approval by the Commission.
Where can I get more information about the application requirements or the licensing process?
Information about all license application requirements and the licensing process can be found in the Commission’s Guidance on Licensure. For best advice, the Commission recommends consulting a licensed attorney or knowledgeable industry professional for best guidance.
What is a “Third-Party Technology Platform Provider?”
A Third-Party Technology Platform Provider (Provider) is an individual or business that provides or hosts an internet-based application(s) developed for the facilitation of ordering and delivering marijuana, marijuana products and marijuana accessories and branded goods by a Marijuana Courier or Marijuana Delivery Operator or a business with a Delivery Endorsement to a consumer, patient, or caregiver.
Where a Delivery licensee contracts with a Provider, it must ensure that its goods are sold in compliance with the licensing requirements, for example, advertising and branding.
A licensee that develops a proprietary application exclusively for its own use is not considered to be a Third-Party Technology Platform Provider.
A Third-Party Technology Platform Provider may not be an investor in a Delivery licensee.
Can a Marijuana Courier deliver adult and medical marijuana product? What about Marijuana Delivery Operators?
Yes, a Marijuana Courier may contract with Marijuana Retailers and/or Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MTCs) to deliver product to consumers, patients, or caregivers. Products from an MTC can be delivered to patients and caregivers.
A Marijuana Delivery Operator may not acquire from an MTC or deliver medical-use marijuana to a patient or caregiver. A Marijuana Delivery Operator can only sell and deliver marijuana and marijuana products, and their own marijuana accessories and branded goods, directly to a consumer (a person who is 21 years of age or older).
Where do I apply for a Delivery license or Delivery Endorsement?
Applications will be available electronically in MassCIP located here: https://www.massciportal.com/login-register. Businesses seeking a Marijuana Courier or Marijuana Delivery Operator license will be able to access the pre-certification application. Marijuana Microbusinesses seeking a Delivery Endorsement will be able to access the Delivery Endorsement application.
Which communities may receive deliveries? Why aren’t Marijuana Couriers or Marijuana Delivery Operators allowed to deliver to consumers in municipalities that have not allowed retail operations or opted in for delivery operations?
The law allows cities or towns, in some cases, to restrict certain Marijuana Establishments from operating within its borders. Considering this legal requirement, the Commission’s regulations allow delivery in only the following locations:
- The city or town in which the Delivery licensee is located (the business location or place of business);
- Any city or town which allows for retail operations (even if a Marijuana Retailer is not operational there); and
- Any city or town that has notified the Commission that delivery is allowed within its borders.
Applicants, licensees, and consumers can view which cities and towns have allowed delivery and retail operations by reviewing the Commission’s Municipal Zoning Tracker located here: MassCannabisControl.com/Municipal-Zoning-Tracker.
Can a Microbusiness licensee located in a city or town that does not permit retail sales and has not “opted in” to allow for delivery obtain a Delivery Endorsement?
No, the city or town must either allow retail operations or “opt in” to allow delivery operations. A city or town can “opt in” after receiving notice from the Commission and stating that delivery may operate within its borders.
Applicants, licensees, and consumers can view which cities or towns have allowed delivery and retail operations by reviewing the Commission’s Municipal Zoning Tracker located here: MassCannabisControl.com/Municipal-Zoning-Tracker.
What defines the delivery business location? Is it where you house your vehicle(s)?
For Marijuana Courier and Marijuana Delivery Operator applicants and licensees, the business location is the location where vehicle(s) are housed, delivery orders are received, vehicles are dispatched from every day, and employees monitor delivery vehicles in transport through GPS and reporting requirements.
The location should be in a city or town that has allowed retail or delivery operations and is appropriately zoned. The location should have a building that allows for the “back office” operations of a Delivery license, where delivery orders are received, vehicles are dispatched from every day, and where employees will monitor delivery vehicles in transport through GPS and reporting requirements.
After being pre-certified, Marijuana Courier and Marijuana Delivery Operator license applicants provide their location information in their provisional license applications.
Does a delivery business need to sign a Host Community Agreement (HCA) with every community in which its residents will receive a delivery?
No. However, all applicants must submit certification of an executed HCA with the city or town in which their business will be located.
Will consumers pay the Marijuana Courier for the entire order or just for the delivery fee?
It is up to the Marijuana Courier and the Marijuana Retailer it contracts with to determine when and how the consumer pays. For the safety of the drivers and consumers, Marijuana Retailers and Marijuana Couriers may use platforms for the electronic payment of funds to minimize the amount of cash carried on a delivery vehicle, and store cash in a locked compartment.
Are there limits on the number of Marijuana Establishments with which a Marijuana Courier can do business?
No. However, a Marijuana Courier is required to have an executed delivery agreement with the Marijuana Retailer or MTC prior to performing deliveries.
Can Delivery licensees mix products from different Marijuana Retailers into a consumer’s individual order?
Yes, as long as the consumer’s individual order does not exceed the individual possession limits. A Marijuana Courier, Marijuana Delivery Operator, or a Microbusiness with a Delivery Endorsement can deliver only one (1) individual order per consumer, during each delivery. A Delivery licensee or a Microbusiness with a Delivery Endorsement cannot deliver to the same consumer at the same residence more than once each calendar day, regardless of the quantity of their individual order.
May a Marijuana Courier contract with a Marijuana Retailer to complete the pre-verification process for consumers who intend to place delivery orders? What are some of the pre-verification restrictions for Delivery licensees?
A Marijuana Courier is prohibited from performing a delivery to any consumer who has not established an account for delivery through pre-verification of the consumer’s identification by the Marijuana Retailer or Third-Party Technology Platform.
A Marijuana Delivery Operator or Microbusiness with a Delivery Endorsement is prohibited from performing a delivery to any consumer who has not established an account for delivery through pre-verification of the consumer’s identification through Commission-approved electronic means.
Can delivery companies use third-party applications or credit, debit, or ATM card transactions instead of cash payments for safety reasons?
At what point can Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants or Social Equity Program Participants liquidate their ownership over the Marijuana Courier or Delivery Operator license?
All Delivery licenses are available to businesses controlled by and with majority ownership comprised of Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants and/or Social Equity Program Participants for an exclusive period of at least 36 months from the date the first Delivery Operator licensee receives notice to commence operations. Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants and/or Social Equity Program Participants must have, and maintain, control and majority ownership over this license type during the entire exclusivity period.
Does the licensee with which a Marijuana Courier contracts to obtain product for delivery need to be a Marijuana Retailer?
Yes, a Marijuana Courier can only contract with Marijuana Retailers and/or MTCs to deliver the Marijuana Retailers’ and/or MTCs’ marijuana and marijuana products to consumers, patients, or caregivers.
Can a Marijuana Courier wholesale product from Marijuana Product Manufacturers and Marijuana Cultivators?
Can a Marijuana Delivery Operator wholesale product from Marijuana Product Manufacturers and Marijuana Cultivators?
Yes. A Marijuana Delivery Operator may contract with licensed Marijuana Cultivators, Marijuana Product Manufacturers, Microbusinesses, or Craft Marijuana Cooperatives to obtain wholesale products to sell and deliver directly to consumers.
When does a background check and fingerprinting occur with a Marijuana Courier or Marijuana Delivery Operator license application?
When applicants complete the provisional license application (the second application), applicants must submit background check authorization forms and update background check history events. After review and when deemed complete, Commission staff will notify applicants to submit the background check fee to a Commission vendor and complete the fingerprint examination. No background checks or fingerprinting is required in the pre-certification application, however, disclosure of background events will be reviewed.
Who is eligible to apply for and invest in Delivery licenses?
Delivery licenses are limited, on an exclusive basis, to businesses controlled by and with majority ownership comprised of Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants or Social Equity Program Participants for a period of at least 36 months from the date the first Delivery Operator licensee receives a notice to commence operations (the “exclusivity period”).
Other individuals and entities may contribute capital resources.
Can a Marijuana Microbusiness with a Delivery Endorsement deliver other Marijuana Establishments’ marijuana products?
Can an agent of a Marijuana Courier enter a Marijuana Retailer, with whom they have a delivery agreement, through an employee-only entrance to make a pickup without a registered agent badge for that particular Marijuana Retailer?
Yes, however, the Marijuana Retailer must follow visitor procedures.
Will a Delivery licensee have to undergo an inspection once provisionally licensed?
Yes, Commission staff will provide the licensee a notice once provisionally licensed along with a request form for a Post-Provisional License Inspection (PPLI). This inspection will ensure your vehicle(s) and standard operating procedures, among other items, comply with the Commission’s regulations. After successfully completing the PPLI, the Delivery licensee moves to final license approval.
Can a Marijuana Courier licensee perform other marijuana-related activities, such as packaging, repackaging, and/or preparing orders for delivery?
Can a Delivery licensee rent its delivery vehicle?
No, the licensee must either own its vehicle or lease it from a private party. The vehicle must be properly registered to the licensee as a commercial vehicle.
Can a Delivery licensee deliver products other than marijuana (i.e., accessories, clothing, novelty, or promotional items)?
Yes, Marijuana Couriers can also deliver marijuana accessories and branded goods, either their own or the Marijuana Retailer’s.
Yes, Marijuana Delivery Operators can deliver their own marijuana accessories and branded goods.
Marijuana accessories may not include branded goods.
How many registered agents must be in the vehicle when performing deliveries?
Two (2) registered agents must be in the delivery vehicle when performing home deliveries. At least one (1) registered agent must always remain in the vehicle.
Are Marijuana Couriers allowed to deliver its own product?
A Marijuana Courier can only deliver products sold by a Marijuana Retailer or MTC. Therefore, for a Marijuana Courier to deliver its own product, it would also need to hold a separate Marijuana Retailer or MTC license. Microbusinesses with Delivery Endorsements can deliver its own product to consumers.
Can Marijuana Couriers “stack” deliveries within one trip?
Yes, Marijuana Courier licensees may obtain marijuana and marijuana products from multiple Marijuana Retailers and MTCs to deliver to consumers, patients, and caregivers. The maximum retail value of marijuana and marijuana product in the vehicle at one time is limited to $10,000. This $10,000 limit does not apply to marijuana accessories and branded goods.
Can a person come to the delivery vehicle to pick up their order?
No, the Delivery licensee’s registered agent must deliver the product to the consumer’s residence, house, condominium, or apartment.
Who can receive deliveries and how much can be delivered?
Consumers who are 21 years of age or older may receive deliveries for adult-use marijuana and marijuana products. Consumers must be pre-verified before filling the order by providing the government-issued identification card that will be used at the time of delivery.
Additionally, consumers are limited to one (1) ounce of marijuana or its combined dry weight equivalent in marijuana concentrate or edible marijuana products per day. One (1) ounce of marijuana flower is considered equivalent to five (5) grams of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana concentrate including, but not limited to, tinctures. One (1) ounce of marijuana flower is considered equivalent to 500 milligrams of active THC in edible marijuana products.
What happens if there is a car accident or other emergency during a delivery?
In the case of an emergency stop during the delivery, a log must be maintained describing the reason for the stop, the duration, the location, and any activities of personnel exiting the vehicle. The Marijuana Establishment agents in the vehicle must provide notice to the employer-licensee of the location of the stop, seek assistance, and employ best efforts to remain in contact with their employer.
Marijuana Establishment agents shall report to the Commission and law enforcement authorities any vehicle accidents, diversions, losses, or other reportable incidents that occur during transport, not more than 24 hours of such accidents, diversions, losses, or other reportable incidents.
If a motor vehicle accident renders the vehicle inoperable, the Licensee shall notify state and local law enforcement immediately so that marijuana products may be adequately secured.
If we are only transporting from retailer to consumer, why do we need a location?
Every business must provide a physical business location within a city or town under the law. For purposes of Delivery applicants and licensees, this will be the location where the vehicle(s) are housed, delivery orders are received, vehicles are dispatched from every day, and where employees will monitor delivery vehicles in transport through GPS and reporting requirements.
Can my business office or location be mobile? Can I work out of a trailer or my delivery van?
Delivery licensees must have a fixed business address where the licensee conducts business operations. This location must be approved by the city or town where it is situated.
What will the Commission require for a location?
- Identification of the proposed address for the license;
- Documentation of a property interest in the proposed address by way of one of the following:
- Clear legal title to the proposed site;
- An option to purchase the proposed site;
- A legally enforceable agreement to give such title; or
- Documentation from the owner evidencing permission to use the Premises.
The Commission has several requirements in the license application for a location of a Delivery licensee:
- Disclosure of the business’ address;
- Documents showing property interest in the proposed address (for example, lease, title to the property, a binding letter of intent to use the property);
- Host Community Agreement;
- Community Outreach Documentation; and
- Plan to Remain Compliant with Local Ordinances.
The location should be in a city or town that allows marijuana retail or delivery operations and is appropriately zoned. The location should have a building that allows for the “back office” operations of a Delivery license from which delivery orders are received, vehicles are dispatched daily, and where employees will monitor delivery vehicles in transport through GPS and reporting requirements.
Can an entity with a Marijuana Retailer location apply for a Delivery license? If so, does it need to have an additional location for the delivery business?
Yes, a Marijuana Retailer can apply for a Delivery license subject to the license caps and the exclusivity period.
A licensee who has both a Marijuana Retailer and Delivery license is allowed to operate from the same facility, so long as the licensee is able to comply with the regulations for both license types.
Are there any rules for where the vehicles need to be parked when they do not have marijuana in the vehicles?
Yes, the delivery vehicles may be parked overnight at the address identified as the licensee’s place of business or another location, provided that keeping the vehicle at the identified location complies with all general and special bylaws of that city or town.
Does a Delivery licensee have to use its own drivers, or can it use the Marijuana Retailer’s drivers? Is there an option to use a combination of both methods?
The drivers performing deliveries on behalf of a Delivery licensee must be active registered agents and employees of the Delivery licensee.
Why is general liability and product liability insurance coverage needed?
The Commission, in its regulations, require all vehicles used for delivery by a Delivery licensee or Marijuana Establishment with a Delivery Endorsement to carry liability insurance in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit.
May a Marijuana Courier with an existing delivery agreement with a Marijuana Retailer (who also has a Cultivation or Product Manufacturing license) pick up finished product from the licensed cultivation or manufacturing facility if it is earmarked for that same licensee’s own retail facility?
No, all marijuana and marijuana product orders for delivery must be picked up at a Marijuana Retailer facility.
Can a Social Equity Program Participant’s Microbusiness invest in other Social Equity Program Participants’ or Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants’ businesses?
Persons and entities associated with the Microbusiness are prohibited from being a Person or Entity Having Direct or Indirect Control for any other Marijuana Establishment except a Social Consumption Establishment. However, this does not prohibit certain investments, such as contributions of capital resources.
What criteria will be used to determine whether the exclusivity period will be extended beyond 36 months?
At least eight (8) months before the end of the exclusivity period, the Commission will begin evaluating data to determine whether the goals of the exclusivity period have been met. The criteria for evaluation will include:
- Overall rates of participation in the regulated marijuana industry by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement of the law;
- Overall rates of participation in the regulated Marijuana industry by people of color;
- Licenses granted to businesses with majority ownership comprised of Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants and Social Equity Program Participants;
- Number of registered agents who are Social Equity Program Participants;
- Number of Delivery licensees in operation and business performance relative to other Marijuana Establishments;
- Financial feasibility of continued participation in the regulated marijuana industry by communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement of the law if exclusivity period ends; and
- Any other information the Commission determines relevant.
Can seeds and clones be delivered?
Can a Microbusiness with a Delivery Endorsement also hold a Delivery license?
What is a transportation plan?
All applicants must demonstrate knowledge and compliance with standard operating procedures including a transportation plan. Some of these requirements include the need to have a properly registered vehicle, remaining within the Commonwealth when delivering and having randomized routes, GPS tracking, transportation logs, and requirements around manifests.
Do the operating procedures need to be separated into sections, or can they be merged? For example, can the “plan to prevent diversion” be part of the “delivery plan” section?
Each required plan must be uploaded as its own separate PDF and properly labeled; they cannot be merged.
Can a Marijuana Courier store or warehouse marijuana or marijuana products?
No, the Marijuana Courier must return all undeliverable or refused marijuana and marijuana products to the originating Marijuana Retailer once all deliveries included on a manifest have been made. Marijuana and marijuana products cannot be held or warehoused by a Marijuana Courier overnight.
When a Marijuana Courier has completed all deliveries for the day, and does not need to return marijuana and marijuana product to another Marijuana Establishment, can the delivery agent return the vehicle to the principal place of business or an off-site location?
Yes, the Marijuana Courier may allow its agents to return the delivery vehicle to the principal place of business or an off-site location if this location complies with local and special bylaws or ordinances. The delivery log required to be maintained should track the vehicle’s mileage 1) when the vehicle leaves the Marijuana Retailer, 2) each time it arrives at a consumer’s residence, and 3) when it returns to the Marijuana Retailer, principal place of business, or an off-site location as permitted. A notation should be made indicating the return trip was to this final location.
During which hours is a Delivery licensee prohibited from performing deliveries?
Deliveries shall not occur between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. unless explicitly allowed by a city or town’s bylaw or ordinance.
How does the local tax option apply to a transaction where both marijuana and non-marijuana products, such as marijuana accessories and branded goods, are sold?
When marijuana and marijuana products are sold at retail, there is a calculation of the state sales tax, state excise tax, and if applicable, a local option tax imposed by cities or towns. For a Marijuana Retailer, Delivery Operator or Microbusiness with a Delivery Endorsement, the rate of the local tax option is set by the host community and calculated for retail sales of marijuana and marijuana products.
Retail sales of non-marijuana products, such as accessories and branded goods are generally only subject to the state sales tax if they are separately identified on the receipt given to the purchaser at the time of the sale.
Is the Marijuana Courier required to pay the taxes on marijuana and marijuana products delivered to consumers?
No. For marijuana and marijuana products, the Marijuana Retailer, not the Marijuana Courier, is required to pay the state excise tax, the state sales tax, and any applicable local option tax on the products delivered to consumers.
How should Marijuana Retailers, including Delivery Operator Licensees and Microbusinesses with a Delivery Endorsement, separately state transactions where marijuana is sold along with non-marijuana products, such as marijuana accessories branded goods?
Marijuana Retailers, including Delivery Operator Licensees and Microbusinesses with a Delivery Endorsement, must separately identify the amount of the total sales price for sales of marijuana and marijuana products and for sales of other goods, e.g., accessories or branded goods, or services, on the purchaser’s receipt. If there is a sale of accessories and branded goods and these sales are identified separately, only the state sales tax needs to be calculated, not the state excise tax or local option tax. You should be aware that some branded goods, i.e., articles of clothing, may be exempt from the sales tax. If the sale of different goods are identified not separately on the purchaser’s receipt, all of these taxes will be calculated for the total sales price. For more information, see DOR’s Sales and Use Tax Guide.
DOR, not the Commission, regulates taxation, so licensees are encouraged to review DOR’s guidance, or consult with DOR or their own counsel on how taxes are collected on particular goods and for a particular sale.
May I be exempt from the energy efficiency and equipment standards for horticultural lighting, HVAC, and dehumidification systems if I annually purchase and retire alternative or renewable energy credits to offset 100% of my Cultivation Facility’s onsite (nonrenewable) energy use?
No. To qualify for exemption, the Cultivation Facility must first demonstrate that at least 80% of all energy generated onsite derives from an eligible onsite renewable source. The facility must then document that it has purchased and retired renewable or alternative energy credits representing the remaining portion, if any, of energy generated offsite. This means that the Cultivation Facility would, at most, be expected to purchase or retire energy credits offsetting 20% of energy usage in order to qualify for exemption.
When do I provide my energy compliance letter to the Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) if I am a Cultivator who already has a provisional license and has already completed Architectural Review?
Licensees who have completed Architectural Review but have not yet received a final license should submit their energy compliance letter or their energy compliance exemption letter (if eligible) to their assigned Investigator or Compliance Officer during the Post-Provisional License Inspection process.
I am thinking about filing an application for initial licensure. Do I need to comply with the energy efficiency regulatory standards at the time of application?
All applications submitted on or after July 1, 2020 must satisfy the energy efficiency standards and reporting requirements described in the Compiled Energy and Environmental Guidance if they are not otherwise exempted. Initial applications for licensure submitted before July 1, 2020, that do not yet have a final license must comply with those same requirements effective July 1, 2020, unless the applicant or licensee is otherwise exempted.
The regulations state that Horticultural Lighting Power Density cannot exceed 36 watts per square foot, or 50 watts per square foot for Tier 1 or Tier 2 Cultivators. Does “square foot” refer to the square footage of the canopy?
Horticultural Lighting Power Density is a measure of total watts of Horticultural Lighting Equipment per total Horticultural Lighting Square Footage (HLE/HLSF = HLPD) expressed as number of watts per square foot. Agency regulations define Horticultural Lighting Square Footage to mean canopy.
Does the square footage calculation for the Horticultural Lighting Power Density requirement extend to all crop growth areas in the facility to include areas dedicated to mother plants, clones, vegetation, and flower?
No. Commission regulations define Horticultural Lighting Square Footage to mean canopy. Canopy is measured using clearly identifiable boundaries of all areas that will contain mature plants at any point in time. The Massachusetts Seed-to-Sale Guidance defines mature plants as plants greater than eight inches tall and defines immature plants as a non-flowering plant that is no taller than eight inches and no wider than eight inches produced from a cutting, clipping, or seedling. Consistent with the definition of canopy, the Horticultural Lighting Square Footage extends to all growth areas in the facility that will contain mature plants at any point in time. Therefore, the agency does not consider areas solely dedicated to the cultivation of immature plants part of the Horticultural Lighting Square Footage.
Does the measurement of canopy include aisles or walkways?
No. Aisles and walkways are not counted as part of the canopy (Horticultural Lighting Square Footage) calculation. If a licensee intends to use tables for cultivation, then the length and width of each table is factored into the canopy measurement. If the licensee intends to use rows for outdoor cultivation, then the length and width of each row is factored into the canopy calculation.
Is there another list of approved lighting technologies, in addition to the Horticultural Qualified Products list?
At this time, the Horticultural Qualified Products list is the only list of lighting technologies approved for purposes of meeting the horticultural lighting requirement in 935 CMR 500.120(11)(b)2 and 501.120(12)(b)2. Licensees seeking to use horticultural lighting not included on the Horticultural Qualified Products list must submit a Waiver Request Form supported by third-party certification of the energy efficiency features of the alternative lighting equipment proposed.
Will licensees be able to digitally transmit their Cannabis PowerScore report directly to the Commission?
No. Licensees will download the Cannabis PowerScore report as a PDF file and will include that document as an attachment to their renewal application.
Are biogas-driven chillers that reduce electricity use eligible for exemptions from the regulatory requirements for horticultural lighting, HVAC, and dehumidification systems?
Yes, biogas-driven systems that qualify for Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (APS) as a Renewable Thermal Generating unit are eligible. Exemptions are available to Cultivation Facilities that generate 80% or more of their total annual onsite energy use for all fuels from either a clean or renewable energy generating source or renewable thermal generation as provided in M.G.L. c. 25A § 11F and 11F½. A “clean or renewable resource” should be understood to refer to renewable energy generating sources, as provided in M.G.L. c. 25A, § 11F and regulations promulgated thereunder, or renewable thermal generating sources, as provided in M.G.L. c. 25A, § 11F½ and regulations promulgated thereunder. Renewable Thermal Generation Unit is defined by 225 CMR 16 – see APS Renewable Thermal Statement of Qualification Application and Guideline on Biomass, Biogas, and Biofuels for Eligible Renewable Thermal Generation Units. Projects would not be eligible for an exemption if they chose to qualify under the APS as a combined heat and power system; they must qualify as a renewable thermal generation system.
Will the Commission consider overall energy-use intensity targets as a basis for exemption from specific regulatory requirements for horticultural lighting, HVAC, and dehumidification systems?
No. Indoor Marijuana Cultivators may be exempt from the lighting and HVAC/dehumidification requirements upon demonstrating that the licensee is generating 80% or more of the total annual onsite energy use for all fuels (expressed on a MWh basis) from an onsite clean or renewable generating source or renewable thermal generation. Additionally, the Marijuana Establishment must document that renewable energy credits or alternative energy credits representing the portion of the licensee’s energy usage not generated onsite (maximum of 20%) have been purchased and retired on an annual basis. In general, licensees may submit waivers seeking exemption from regulatory requirements by submitting a Waiver Request Form to Licensing@CCCMass.com.
What are the Commission’s working definitions of “upgrades,” “renovations,” or “expansions” for determining when Marijuana Cultivators must create procedures for identifying energy savings opportunities?
The Commission does not have working definitions of those terms. If the facility upgrade, renovation, or expansion contemplated by the licensee would require the licensee to file a Structural Change Request Form with the Commission, then procedures for identifying energy-savings opportunities must be developed accordingly.
Can a Cultivation Facility qualify for exemption from the horticultural lighting and HVAC/dehumidification requirements if they are required to sell any renewable energy generated onsite back to the electric grid, instead of directly utilizing the energy generated?
Yes. Marijuana Cultivators may qualify for exemption from the lighting and HVAC/dehumidification requirements upon demonstrating that the licensee is generating 80% or more of the total annual onsite energy use for all fuels (expressed on a MWh basis) from an onsite clean or renewable generating source or renewable thermal generation. Any requirement to sell the renewable energy generated onsite back to the electric grid does not negate the licensee’s qualification for the exemption. Additionally, however, Marijuana Cultivators must document that renewable energy credits or alternative energy credits representing the portion of the licensee’s energy usage (maximum of 20%) not generated onsite have been purchased and retired on an annual basis.
Medical Use of Marijuana Program
Where is my Medical Use of Marijuana Program ID card?
Patients and Caregivers should anticipate an average of at least two weeks’ time from the date of their registration approval from the Cannabis Control Commission (Commission), to receiving the physical Patient or Caregiver Program ID card.
Several common mistakes may delay the issuance of a Program ID card:
- Failing to fully submit the registration application to the Commission.
- When applying for a Program ID card, be sure to fully complete your application and select “submit.” It is a common mistake to not fully submit the application.
- Forgetting to include an apartment or unit number in your address when you submit your application.
- Please check to ensure that all the information is filled out in the application address fields.
- Mistaking Program ID cards for “junk mail.”
- Program ID cards will arrive in a plain, white envelope that often gets mistaken for “junk mail.” While you are waiting for your card, be sure to open all your mail. The envelope containing your card will list the Commission’s address in the upper left-hand corner:
- Union Station
2 Washington Square
Worcester, MA 01604
- Union Station
- Program ID cards will arrive in a plain, white envelope that often gets mistaken for “junk mail.” While you are waiting for your card, be sure to open all your mail. The envelope containing your card will list the Commission’s address in the upper left-hand corner:
How do I reset my password? How do I find my username?
Go to the Medical Use of Marijuana Program Online System at MassCIPortal.com and select “Forgot Password” or “Forgot Username.”
I lost my Patient or Caregiver Program ID card. How do I replace it?
You can submit a replacement card application to the Commission using your online account through the Medical Use of Marijuana Program Online System at MassCIPortal.com. There is a $10.00 replacement fee. There are no paper applications available for a lost card.
Do I have to see the doctor every year?
Yes, Patients must recertify with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program through a Certifying Healthcare Provider at least once a year.
Certifying Healthcare Providers can certify Patients for periods ranging from 15 to 365 days. If your certification is active for less than 365 days, you need to see your Certifying Healthcare Provider before it ends.
Under current Commission order and regulations, some Certifying Healthcare Providers may offer telehealth appointments for you to become certified or renew your certification. For best advice on whether your Provider offers appointments by telehealth, please consult them directly.
Do I have to apply for a new card every year?
Yes, after renewing your certification with your Certifying Healthcare Provider, log into your account with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program Online System at MassCIPortal.com to complete the Commission’s renewal process.
My Program ID card is not expired, but the dispensary says it is. What is going on?
The date on which your Certifying Healthcare Provider certified you may be different from the date that your physical Program ID card expires. If your medical certification has expired, you will not be able to purchase medical marijuana.
I visited my Certifying Healthcare Provider, and they provided a medical certification. Why haven’t I received my card yet?
There are two steps to either register as a new Patient or renew your registration:
- Become certified, or renew your certification, through a Certifying Healthcare Provider.
- Create a new account, or log into an existing account, with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program Online System at MassCIPortal.com to complete the Commission’s registration or renewal process.*
*Remember: complete all fields that are available on all screens and hit “Submit” on your registration application after reviewing your information.
How do I change or update my name, email, phone number, or address?
Log into your account with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program Online System at MassCIPortal.com (MassCIP) to update information.
A name change requires uploading:
- A legal document proving your name change, and
- Updated proof of identification that reflects the name change.
To change your email address or phone number, please log into your account.
A change of residential address requires upload of a proof of residency document. See question 10 for examples of proof of residency documents. See the Patient guide in MassCIP for step-by-step instructions on how to upload documents.
A change to a mailing address does not require upload of any documents.
I just moved from out of state. Do I need a Massachusetts driver’s license or Massachusetts government-issued identification to register as a Patient?
No, you may use a U.S. passport or U.S. military identification card for proof of identification, if you do not yet have your Massachusetts driver’s license or Massachusetts ID card. If you are using a U.S. military identification card, the card must have an expiration date.
If you use a U.S. passport or U.S. military identification card for proof of identification, you will need to upload a recent photo and proof of residency in Massachusetts. See question 10 for examples of documents that can provide proof of residency.
See the Patient guide in MassCIP for step-by-step instructions on how to upload documents.
What documents can I upload to demonstrate proof of residency?
- Utility bill (less than 60 days old)
- Current Massachusetts motor vehicle registration card
- Tuition bill (due date less than 6 months old)
- U.S. marriage certificate (dated within the past 6 months)
- Property tax or excise tax bill
- First-class mail from a federal or state agency (less than 60 days old)
- Car insurance policy or bill (less than 60 days old)
- Current Massachusetts-issued professional license
- Mortgage, lease, or loan (dated within the past 6 months)
Documents that are larger than 3 MB will not upload.
See the Patient guide in MassCIP for step-by-step instructions on how to upload documents.
Why can’t I upload my photo to my Medical Use of Marijuana Program application?
See the Patient guide in MassCIP for step-by-step instructions on how to upload documents.
Documents that are larger than 3 MB will not upload. If your photo is large and you are using a smartphone, we recommend that you take a screenshot of your photo and resize the margins to help reduce the file size.
How do I find a medical marijuana doctor, known as a Certifying Healthcare Provider?
Certifying Healthcare Provider privacy is protected by law. While some clinicians may choose to advertise their services, the Commission is prohibited from sharing the identity of any provider who is registered with us.
Patients and Caregivers may conduct their own research to find a Certifying Healthcare Provider who may issue Medical Use of Marijuana Program certifications in Massachusetts.
Why can’t I use telehealth to get my card?
In recognition of the continuing risks posed by COVID-19, the Commission updated and reissued its June 14, 2021 bulletin allowing Certifying Healthcare Providers to conduct any clinical visit via telehealth for a limited time.
Patients can register or renew their certifications via telehealth if their Certifying Healthcare Provider offers that service and has an approved waiver from the Commission to do so.
For best advice on whether your clinician offers appointments by telehealth, please consult them directly.
How do I increase my purchase limit?
Contact your Certifying Healthcare Provider. The Commission is not authorized to increase your purchase limit.
How do I get a Caregiver?
Patients can add a Caregiver through their online account with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program Online System at MassCIPortal.com, or print an application from the Program’s website and mail it to the Commission at the following address:
Cannabis Control Commission
2 Washington Square
Worcester, MA 01604
Information for new Caregivers is available here.
Information for renewing Caregivers is available here.
How do I get my money back after spending it to become a Patient with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program in Massachusetts?
Registering and renewing your Medical Use of Marijuana Program registration through the Commission is free.
However, Certifying Healthcare Providers may charge for consultations to certify or renew your certification. You need to work directly with your Provider to obtain a refund.
What is a Marijuana Research Facility?
A Marijuana Research Facility is a Marijuana Establishment (ME) licensed by the Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) that can conduct research involving marijuana for a wide array of purposes.
Do you need to obtain a license from the Commission to become a Marijuana Research Facility?
Yes. Marijuana Research Facility licenses are available to any academic institution, nonprofit corporation, or domestic corporation or entity authorized to do business in the Commonwealth that is interested in either conducting research involving cannabis directly or permitting external researchers with an approved Research Permit to conduct research involving cannabis within approved facilities.
Does a Marijuana Research Facility need to obtain any other permissions from the Commission prior to performing research?
Yes. In addition to all applicable inspections of any building that will be used as the licensed premises of a Marijuana Research Facility and compliance checks for other requirements, the Commission must approve the entity’s relevant Research Permit application prior to the commencement of any research study.
What is the difference between a Research License and a Research Permit?
Once an entity has been granted a Marijuana Research Facility license, it will then be required to obtain a Research Permit from the Commission. A Research Permit means a certificate from the Commission to conduct a specified research study over a specified and finite period.
For clarity, a Marijuana Research Facility license generally allows research to be performed at an identified location. The Research Permit identifies the type of research study to be performed at the licensed premises of a Marijuana Research Facility.
What information needs to be submitted to the Commission to obtain a Marijuana Research Facility License?
Generally, all Marijuana Research Facility applicants will need to comply with the same application requirements for other MEs. Some requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Certification of a Host Community Agreement;
- Identification of a proposed location and property interest documentation (e.g. lease, binding permission to use the premises, title to the property, etc.);
- Conduct a Community Outreach Meeting;
- List all Persons or Entities Having Direct or Indirect Control;
- List all capital contributors and upload any loan/management agreements;
- Provide background authorization forms for applicable persons;
- Supply and upload compliant summaries of plans, policies, and procedures for security, inventory, quality control and testing, storage, etc.; and
- Supply and upload a Diversity Plan and Plan to Positively Impact Disproportionately Harmed People (formerly called Positive Impact Plan).
What information needs to be submitted to the Commission to obtain a Research Permit?
All Research Permit applicants will need to submit the following requirements that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The name and curriculum vitae (CV) of each investigator and sub-investigator, including the licensed physician serving as principal investigator who leads the research project and monitors animal/human subjects (if applicable);
- The Institution Review Board (IRB) Institution utilized for ethics review of research involving human subjects (additional information below about IRBs), if applicable;
- The Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) Institution utilized for ethics review of research involving animal subjects (additional information below about IACUCs), if applicable;
- Information on the research project including the following: publication-ready summary of the research project to be conducted, along with a detailed research protocol, safety and disposal protocols, articulated goals of the research project, and start/end dates;
- A description of the project funding or resources that includes the sources of the funding and an attestation that the project is adequately funded or resourced;
- Detailed information about any human participants, if applicable;
- Detailed information about any animal participants, if applicable;
- The quantity of marijuana or marijuana products anticipated to be needed over the duration of the research project;
- The Independent Testing Laboratory where the marijuana or marijuana products will be tested; and
- The name and license number (or application number) of the Marijuana Research Facility where the project will take place.
What is the Commission’s review process for Research Permits?
Once the licensee or their external researchers submit a Research Permit application to the Commission, it will be reviewed by staff based on the order in which it was submitted. If more information is required, the applicant will receive a notice seeking further information so the Commission may complete its review.
It is pertinent that any research projects involving human subjects supply all necessary IRB details and any study involving animal subjects supplies all necessary Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) details to the Commission. These include: (1) name of institutional IRB and/or IACUC; (2) contact information for IRB and/or IACUC and lead contact at IRB and/or IACUC with whom the licensee will be working, and (3) current status of IRB and/or IACUC approval. Commission staff need to see final IRB approval before any research will be approved to commence.
I have a Research Permit granted by the Commission and I am ready to begin my research project. Where do I acquire the cannabis to be used in the study?
There are three (3) ways for a Marijuana Research Facility licensee to obtain marijuana:
- If the Marijuana Research Facility licensee is also licensed as a Marijuana Cultivator and/or Marijuana Product Manufacturer, it can obtain its own marijuana or marijuana products from those licenses;
- Marijuana or marijuana products can be sourced directly from an external Medical Marijuana Treatment Center, Marijuana Cultivator, Marijuana Product Manufacturer, Marijuana Microbusiness, or Craft Marijuana Cooperative licensed by the Commission; or
- If the cultivation or product manufacturing of marijuana or marijuana products is the subject of the research project, and the approved Research Permit allows it, the licensee may cultivate and/or produce marijuana or marijuana products if it first executes an agreement to do so in conjunction with another licensee authorized to perform those activities. This does not allow for home grown marijuana. All activities must take place at a licensed facility.
My research project involves human subjects. Are there any additional special requirements that are involved in these types of studies?
Yes. During the research project, all marijuana or marijuana products used in research and consumed by human subjects must comply with the following:
- Be adequately described in the Informed Consent Form;
- Tested in accordance with 935 CMR 500.160 prior to consumption by human subjects; and
- Recorded in the Commission’s seed-to-sale tracking system, Metrc.
Please note the following requirements for human or animal participants:
- IRB approval of the project before a Research Permit is granted (applicable to human subject-involved research);
- One or more licensed physicians in good standing must monitor the participants (applicable to human subject-involved research);
- Other than a survey-only research project, human participants in research conducted by a Marijuana Research Facility licensee where consumption of Marijuana or Marijuana Products is a component must reside in the Commonwealth;
- Any research project with human subjects are participants must identify the (1) name of IRB; (2) contact information for IRB and study IRB contact, and (3) current status of IRB approval. Approved Research Permits will need IRB approval before research may commence;
- The number, ages, and demographic of the participants;
- The number of Registered Qualified Patients (if any);
- “Vulnerable” cohorts (pregnant/breastfeeding women, minors, disabled veterans, etc.) and applicable safety precautions for these cohorts;
- A copy of each individual’s Informed Consent Form or Waiver of Consent;
- Documentation showing that the process of obtaining Informed Consent complied with the Research Licensee’s other IRB, institutional, industry, or professional standards;
- Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval of the project before a Research Permit is granted (specific to animal subjects research); and
- One or more licensed veterinary doctors in good standing to monitor participants (applicable to animal subjects research).
What do I need to do once my research project has concluded?
Once the research project concludes, the Marijuana Research Facility licensee or external researchers utilizing the Research Permit must provide a final synopsis of the project specific to the Commission and the work undertaken as it aligns with the Research Permit:
- No peer review publication: If the licensee or researchers do not intend to publish their work in a peer review journal, all copies of all final reports, findings, or documentation regarding the outcomes of approved research projects receiving a Research Permit must be submitted to the Commission.
- Peer review publication: If the licensee or researchers intend to submit any part of their work to a peer review journal, it is acceptable to submit all papers, findings, and documentation to the Commission after it is accepted for publication.
Is the information I send to the Commission after my study has concluded considered private?
No. Any records or documentation received by the Commission becomes a public record and may be disclosed pursuant to the Public Records Law, M.G.L. c. 66, § 10 and M.G.L. c. 4, § 7, cl. 26, or other compulsory legal process, or at the Commission’s discretion.
As with all communication with the Commission, you should consider any conversations you have with us, or any material you provide to us, to be subject to a public records request or other compulsory legal process.
Other types of Marijuana Establishments require inspections by the Commission. Can Marijuana Research Facility licensees also be inspected at any time?
Yes. The Commission, or its representatives, may conduct announced or unannounced inspections at any time. Additionally, Marijuana Research Facility licensees can expect an inspection after provisional licensure and final licensure as part of the regular licensing application process.
Does a business need to have a Research License prior to applying for a Research Permit?
No. However, Research Permit applicants are encouraged to wait to submit all necessary information for their research projects until a business has obtained all the necessary approvals to be a fully operational Marijuana Research Facility.
Are there any limitations on ownership or control relating to the Marijuana Research Facility licenses?
Yes. An entity is limited to holding no more than three (3) Marijuana Research Facility licenses. Additionally, a Marijuana Research Facility licensee may hold or obtain other licenses for Marijuana Cultivation, Marijuana Product Manufacturing, and Marijuana Retail, for example.
Can my business obtain a Marijuana Research Facility license if it, or the people/entities with ownership or control over it, have interests in other licenses?
Yes, subject to the ownership and control limits highlighted above. However, a Marijuana Research Facility licensee cannot be, or have financial interest in, an Independent Testing Laboratory license.
Are Research Permits only available to Marijuana Research Facility licensees or license applicants?
No. Research Permits are separate from Marijuana Research Facility licenses. However, in order for a Marijuana Research Facility licensee to conduct research, it must first obtain a Research Permit.
What are the application and license fees associated with a Marijuana Research Facility license?
The Marijuana Research Facility application fee is $300 and annual license fee is $1,000. Please note all applicable application and license fee waivers for Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants, Social Equity Program Participants, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises apply.
Are there any costs associated with a Research Permit?
The Research Permit application fee is $1,000 and annual permit fee is $1,000. Please note that all applicable application and permit fee waivers for Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants, Social Equity Program Participants, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises apply.
Can a Marijuana Research Facility Licensee hold more than one Research Permit?
Yes. However, a Marijuana Research Facility licensee with more than one (1) Research Permit must physically separate all marijuana or marijuana products used in one research project from another to ensure a clear boundary between projects.
Can Marijuana Research Facility licensees work with other Marijuana Research Facilities?
Yes. One or more Marijuana Research Facility licensees may enter into agreements to conduct research jointly on an identified research project, provided that research activities authorized under the Research Permit must be conducted at only one (1) identified licensed Marijuana Research Facility. The Marijuana Research Facility licensee must disclose to the Commission all contracts or agreements with other Marijuana Research Facility licensees in furtherance of a research project.
Will I need to renew my Marijuana Research Facility license?
Yes. Like all Marijuana Establishments, the Marijuana Research Facility license will expire one year after the date of issuance of the provisional license and annually thereafter. The licensee is required to complete a renewal application no later than 60 calendar days prior to the expiration date.
Will I need to renew my Research Permit?
Yes. The Research Permit will be renewed at least annually, or sooner depending on the nature and duration of the approved research project.
I applied for a Marijuana Research Facility license some time ago. What can I expect?
Commission staff will review all previously submitted Marijuana Research Facility license applications in the order in which they were originally received.
Staff will notify the applicant by email if more information is required. Once staff find the application complies with Commission regulations, background checks and municipal notification will occur. Once the Commission has received all required reports and responses, the application will be recommended for provisional licensure.
Is there a difference between applying for a Marijuana Research Facility license and any other Marijuana Establishment?
No, with one exception. A research compliance plan will be required by Marijuana Research Facility applicants to demonstrate their comprehension of and compliance with the operational requirements for the license.
Is a Marijuana Research Facility licensee required to comply with the same requirements as other Marijuana Establishments (e.g. security, storage, inventory, and other requirements)?
Yes. All Marijuana Research Facility applicants are encouraged to review the Commission’s Guidance on Licensure and regulations before starting a license application to comply with all requirements for licensure.
Can a Marijuana Research Facility licensee transport marijuana?
Yes. A Marijuana Research Facility licensee must comply with all transportation requirements relating to its vehicles, agents, storage, and security, among other requirements. All applicants and licensees must comply with 935 CMR 500.105(13) for all transportation requirements.
Is a Marijuana Research Facility licensee required to have all marijuana tested by an Independent Testing Laboratory?
No, however, prior to consumption by human or animal subjects, all marijuana or marijuana products used in research must be tested by an Independent Testing Laboratory and pass all required tests.
Who must register as an Agent under a Marijuana Research Facility license?
All individuals engaging in research at the Marijuana Research Facility must be registered with the Commission as Marijuana Establishment Agents.
Once approved, how long is the Agent’s registration valid for?
The initial agent registration is valid for one (1) year and is required to be renewed by the Marijuana Research Facility. Upon renewal, the agent registration is then valid for a three (3) year period and will be required to be renewed triennially going forward.
What is an IRB?
An “Institutional Review Board” or “IRB” is a specifically constituted administrative body designated by a Marijuana Research Facility licensee to review and oversee the design and methods of a research project, and where human or animal subjects are a component of the research, to protect the rights and welfare of those recruited to participate.
What is Informed Consent?
Informed Consent means the consent obtained by a Marijuana Research Facility licensee from potential participants in a research project that also explains the risks and potential benefits of the study, and the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved. All marijuana or marijuana products used in research and consumed by human or animal subjects must be adequately described in the Informed Consent Form.
What is an IACUC?
An “Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee” or “IACUC” is an administrative body designated by a Marijuana Research Facility licensee to review and oversee the design and methods of a research project and, where vertebrae animal subjects are a component of the research, to protect the rights and welfare of animals in research and testing.
What is a Waiver of Consent?
Waiver of Consent means the document signed by potential participants, or the legal guardians of potential participants, that waives one or more elements of consent.
Are the human subjects of a research study required to be 21 years of age or older?
Yes, unless the subject is a currently a Registered Qualifying Patient registered by the Commission and under medical supervision.
Can a Marijuana Research Facility sell its marijuana to other licensees?
Can subjects of a research study consume marijuana?
Yes, however, a Marijuana Research Facility licensee may only allow consumption of marijuana on its premises by a study participant if it is part of a permitted research project; otherwise the consumption of marijuana or marijuana products is not allowed.
What is a Marijuana Research Facility licensee required to do with marijuana once its research, or the need for the marijuana, is over?
All unused marijuana and marijuana products must be recorded as waste in the Commission’s seed-to-sale system once the research project is done. Unused marijuana cannot be sold or transferred to other Marijuana Establishments or Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers. All waste must be disposed in accordance with 935 CMR 500.105(12).
Can a Research Licensee be colocated with another Marijuana Establishment and/or Medical Marijuana Treatment Center?
Yes, if the Marijuana Research Facility and the collocated Marijuana Establishment or Medical Marijuana Treatment Center are commonly owned and clearly physically separated.
Are there limitations on how a Marijuana Research Facility licensee or Research Permit holder can advertise for a particular study?
All licensees, including those with Marijuana Research Facility licenses and Research Permits, are required to comply with all advertising requirements.
Advertising means a form of marketing communication that employs a sponsored, non-personal message to sell or promote a Marijuana Establishment’s Brand Name, Marijuana Establishment Branded Good, service, product, or idea.
Please see 935 CMR 500.105(4) for additional information.
Does the Commission vote on Marijuana Research Facility licenses and Research Permits at its public meetings?
All licenses, including a Marijuana Research Facility license, will be approved by the Commission at a public meeting. The Commission’s Executive Director approves research permits and they do not require a vote of the Commission prior to issuance.
Responsible Vendor Training
What is the Responsible Vendor Training (RVT) Program?
Under the RVT Program, the Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) certifies companies to provide the annual minimum training of four hours to Marijuana Establishment (ME) and Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MTC) Agents. All ME and MTC Agents involved in the handling and sale of marijuana for adult and/or medical use need to successfully complete training by a Commission-certified vendor within 90 days of hire. See the current list of Certified Responsible Vendor Trainers on the Commission website link here. See 935 CMR 500.105(2)(b) and 935 CMR 501.105(2)(b) for the current RVT regulations.
How do I apply to become a Responsible Vendor Trainer?
Applications are available through the Massachusetts Cannabis Industry Portal (MassCIP). The application requires contact information, types of trainings offered, documents that include the full curriculum, and other information detailed in the adult and medical use of marijuana regulations. A checklist of items required in the application can be found on the Commission website link here. All sections of the checklist must be adequately satisfied for an application to be deemed complete for working group review.
Once an application is complete, staff review and prepare it for a Commission vote at an upcoming public meeting.
Who may apply to be Responsible Vendor Trainer?
Responsible Vendor Trainers must be independent from MEs and MTCs. Owners and employees of vendors in the RVT Program cannot have a controlling interest in any licensed ME or MTC. The Commission has also designed standards to ensure that trainers do not sell certain services, equipment, or supplies from third parties.
There are no regulatory requirements or limitations on the types of companies or individuals, or location of business, that can apply to become a Responsible Vendor Trainer. In general, applicants are either individuals or educational entities that teach a variety of curriculums or certification programs for adults. Expertise includes, but is not limited to medical cannabis, criminal justice, cannabis business, and education.
Are dual-badged agents (registered as both an ME and MTC Agent) required to take the four-hour Basic Core Curriculum RVT twice (once per license)?
No, Agents who are registered as both an ME and MTC Agent are only required to take the RVT Basic Core Curriculum once every year (12 months).
Are Agents’ RVT Program certificates of completion transferable from other MEs or MTCs?
Yes. An Agent that successfully completes training through a Responsible Vendor Trainer has fulfilled their annual RVT Basic Core Curriculum training, which is transferable to/from other MEs and MTCs within the year (12 months) it was completed.
When will the Advanced Core Curriculum and Delivery Core Curriculum begin?
Per 935 CMR 500.105(2)(b)4.f. and 935 CMR 501.105(2)(b)4.f., the Advanced Core Curriculum and the Delivery Core Curriculum mechanisms will be created and implemented (i.e., open for Responsible Vendor Trainer applications) by July 2022. Until then, ME and MTC Agents are only required to take the Basic Core Curriculum and Responsible Vendor Trainers are only permitted to provide the Basic Core Curriculum as certified by the Commission.
Do Responsible Vendor Trainers receive a MassCIP login in order to register Agents who complete the course?
No, Responsible Vendor Trainers do not receive a MassCIP login for agent registration. Responsible Vendor Trainers are required to maintain their own records for 4 years and provide to the Commission upon request.
Where can I find more information about the RVT Program?
The Commission’s website has information on the program at MassCannabisControl.com/Responsible-Vendor-Training.
How do Agents who receive RVT Program training provide feedback?
ME and MTC Agents should provide feedback directly to Responsible Vendor Trainers. The Commission does not review RVT Program feedback at this time.
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