Local News

It’s been a big year for marijuana in Massachusetts

A rehash of the biggest stories in weed.

There’s been a lot of news of late about cannabis in Massachusetts. Medical marijuana has been for sale for about a year. New dispensaries have opened up their doors every other month. And in the fall, voters will likely decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana, following four other states in the U.S.

It’s an issue with many different sides, especially in the Bay State. Here are the highlights:

How to get medical marijuana in Massachusetts.

A step-by-step guide to the process of getting a prescription for weed.

How to sell marijuana—legally—in Massachusetts.

Have a bit more cash and feeling entrepreneurial? Here’s how to apply for one of the very expensive (and potentially very lucrative) medical marijuana dispensary licenses.


A Massachusetts patient shows off his medical marijuana.

A Massachusetts patient shows his medical marijuana.

Meet the Boston investor who’s rushing after marijuana gold.

Douglas Leighton has emerged as an archetype of the capitalists chasing green with green.

In exchange for approving pot dispensary applications, cities are demanding lucrative cash perks.

Cities and towns are also getting in on the green rush, extracting hundreds of thousands of dollars from dispensaries that want to open in their town. Medical marijuana advocates call it extortion.

We could see legal weed in Massachusetts soonish.

Voters will likely decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana in November. Late last year, two groups with two very different ideas of what that would look like competed for signatures. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol made it to the ballot, while a separate group didn’t. If its question passes — right now, polls show majority support — taxed retail sales overseen by a new state agency could come online by 2018.

The Massachusetts marijuana legalization ballot question, explained

The full initiative text is almost 8,500 words. So we broke it down for you. If the question passes, here’s what the legal marijuana landscape will look like in Massachusetts.

A man smokes weed at the MassCann/NORML 26th Annual Freedom Rally on the Boston Common in 2015

A man smokes marijuana at the MassCann/NORML 26th Annual Freedom Rally on the Boston Common in 2015.

But lots of powerful people oppose the legalization push.

Lobbyist Daniel Delaney has represented clients applying for medical marijuana dispensary licenses in Massachusetts, but is also leading the charge against the likely ballot question that would legalize recreational pot. Also not fans of legalizing weed? Some of the state’s top politicians. Just last week, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Governor Charlie Baker, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo teamed up to campaign against legalization, and things are already heated.

The case of the 10,000 missing medical marijuana patients.

Back in July, there was a 10,000-person difference between the number of people told by a doctor that they’d benefit from medical marijuana and the number who had a card from the state. That gap has slightly closed, to about 5,500, with about 22,500 active patients.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com