Massachusetts legalized medical marijuana back in 2013 and made recreational use and cultivation legal in 2016. The law stipulates that adults over the age of 21 are allowed to cultivate up to six plants at home. Anyone wanting to build a grow operation larger than that will need a license.
Cultivation centers cannot sell marijuana directly to consumers. They must have an integrated structure that handles cultivation, manufacturing and sales to dispensaries.
Types of MA Cultivation Licenses
Massachusetts has three different licenses for marijuana cultivation depending on the grow operation you choose:
- Marijuana Cultivation license
- Craft Marijuana Cooperative license
- Microbusiness license
Massachusetts Marijuana Cultivation License Requirements
Most Massachusetts grow operations will obtain a Marijuana Cultivation License. We have a guide on how to apply for apply for a Massachusetts dispensary license. These operations will be responsible for cultivating, packaging, and distributing to Marijuana Establishments (MEs), which are basically storefronts, and Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MTCs), which are not available to recreational marijuana customers.
Selecting the size of your grow operation is important; it not only defines what price you pay for licensing, but it’s also very difficult to change your tier once you’ve made your selection.
To change a tier requires proof of selling 85% or more of your marijuana every month for six months, and requires a closer inspection of your finances.
Massachusetts Cultivation License Cost
Below is the tier for sizes, and the costs associated with them (NOTE: I = Indoor & O = Outdoor)
|Size||Application Fee||Annual License|
|Tier 1||up to 5,000||$200 (I)/$100 (O)||$1,250 (I)/$625 (O)|
|Tier 2||5,001 to 10,000||$400 (I)/$200 (O)||$2,500 (I)/$1,250 (O)|
|Tier 3||10,001 to 20,000||$600 (I)/$300 (O)||$5,000 (I)/$2,500 (O)|
|Tier 4||20,001 to 30,000||$2000 (I)/$1500 (O)||$20,000 (I)/$10,000 (O)|
|Tier 5||30,001 to 40,000||$2000 (I)/$1500 (O)||$22,500 (I)/$11,250 (O)|
|Tier 6||40,001 to 50,000||$2000 (I)/$1500 (O)||$25,000 (I)/$12,500 (O)|
|Tier 7||50,001 to 60,000||$2000 (I)/$1500 (O)||$30,000 (I)/$15,000 (O)|
|Tier 8||60,001 to 70,000||$2000 (I)/$1500 (O)||$35,000 (I)/$17,500 (O)|
|Tier 9||70,001 to 80,000||$2000 (I)/$1500 (O)||$40,000 (I)/$20,000 (O)|
|Tier 10||80,001 to 90,000||$2000 (I)/$1500 (O)||$45,000 (I)/$22,500 (O)|
|Tier 11||90,001 to 100,000||$2000 (I)/$1500 (O)||$50,000 (I)/$25,000 (O)|
Massachusetts Craft Marijuana Cooperative License Requirements
A Craft Marijuana Cooperative is for applicants who have already, or plan to establish a brand identity for their product. They are licensed to not only cultivate marijuana, but also procure, manufacture, process, package and brand marijuana products for sale exclusively to MEs, not consumers.
Operational plans for Craft Marijuana Cooperatives are heavily scrutinized and must be in compliance with 935 CMR 500.120 when submitting the Management and Operations Profile section of the application.
Craft Marijuana Cooperatives are limited to a total canopy of 100,000 square feet, but are not limited on how many sites make up that number. Craft Marijuana Cooperatives are also limited to three locations for Marijuana Product Manufacturing, separate from marijuana cultivation.
Craft Marijuana Cooperatives are required to submit more information about their energy impact than other applicants. A Craft Marijuana Cooperative must also operate in accordance with the seven cooperative principles published by the International Cooperative Alliance in 1995.
Massachusetts Microbusiness License Requirements
A Massachusetts microbusiness is a smaller growing operation that is defined as a “Tier 1” business according to Massachusetts cultivation licenses. This license applies to marijuana cultivation as well as Social Consumption Establishments and marijuana delivery businesses.
Microbusinesses are limited to buying 2,000 pounds or less of marijuana from other MEs. The cost for a Massachusetts microbusiness is a $1000 application fee, and annual fees of 50% of all applicable license fees.
MA Marijuana Cultivation Application Process
Once the above designations have been decided, and applicable application fees have been paid, it’s time to submit your application. Upon submitting an application of intent, many who are associated with the entity must be ready to submit to a background check and submit a management and operations profile.
Your Management and Operations Profile should include:
- Your business name
- Massachusetts Business Identification number;
- Articles of Organization;
- Bylaws (or the business’ operating agreement in cases of limited liability companies or other applicable entity structure); and
- Doing-business-as names.
In addition to the aforementioned, applicants must submit a formal business plan, proof of liability insurance and proposed timeline of operations.
Management and Operations Profiles for Microbusiness and Craft Marijuana Cooperative are much more robust and have specific requirements. For more information on that, check out pages 34-36 of the Massachusetts Licensing Requirements document.
In addition, applicants need to include Certificates of Good Standing from the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Department of Revenue and the Department of Unemployment Assistance within 90 days of application submission.
Grow America Builders strives to present the most up-to-date marijuana cultivation and consumption codes and ordinances in Massachusetts. However, these are subject to change as the state legislature continues to pass new legislation. Please visit Mass Cannabis Control for the latest news.
If you have questions regarding grow room construction and builders in Massachusetts please contact Grow America Builders.