With no limit on the number of cannabis establishments and the wide array of license types available, Massachusetts is a great option to start a cannabis business.

The Opportunity

November 8th, 2016 Massachusetts voters yes on Question 4, an initiative that would mark the legalization of recreational adult-use cannabis. Since then, the state has developed a lucrative and restorative legal cannabis market that makes it an attractive state for prospective business owners.

This includes a Social Equity Program that offers assistance to municipalities and individuals who have been affected by the previous prohibition of cannabis use and possession. This program offers free, statewide technical assistance and training programs to qualifying applicants.


The Market

As of May 2022, total sales of adult-use cannabis exceeded $3 billion since the market opened in 2018. This milestone came just 8 months after the state exceeded $2 billion in sales in August 2021, with 194 cannabis retailers generating a total of $1.3 billion in 2021 alone.

These figures represent substantial exponential growth in the MA adult-use market and a bright future for the market and aspiring entrepreneurs.

As of March 18, 2020, 245/351 cities and towns allow for cannabis operations within their limits. Within MA, according to state-conducted studies, at least 21% of adults reported consuming cannabis within the last 30 days, signifying a large potential user-base and a lucrative business opportunity.


Massachusetts offers 11 license types with the amount and availability of each varying between municipalities,
as there is no hard-set limit established by the state.

Product Manufacturer

A Marijuana Product Manufacturer is an entity authorized to obtain, manufacture, process, and package marijuana and marijuana products, to transport marijuana and marijuana products to MEs, and to transfer marijuana and marijuana products to other MEs, but not to consumers.

Marijuana Retailer

A Marijuana Retailer is an entity authorized to purchase, repackage, white label, and transport marijuana or marijuana products from MEs, and to sell, repackage or otherwise transfer marijuana and marijuana products to other MEs and to sell to consumers.

Craft Marijuana Cooperative

A Craft Marijuana Cooperative is a type of Marijuana Cultivator which may cultivate, obtain, manufacture, process, package, and brand marijuana and marijuana products to transport marijuana to MEs, but not to consumers.


A Marijuana Cultivator may cultivate, process, and package marijuana, to transfer marijuana to other MEs, but not to consumers.


A Microbusiness is a colocated Tier 1 Marijuana Cultivator, and/or Marijuana Product Manufacturer limited to purchase 2,000 pounds of marijuana from other MEs in one (1) year.

Social Consumption Establishment

Social Consumption Establishment means an entity licensed to sell marijuana or marijuana products and allow consumers to consume marijuana or marijuana products solely on its premises.

Independent Testing Laboratory

An Independent Testing Laboratory, commonly referred to as an ITL, is an entity that does not hold any other type of ME/MTC license and is properly accredited to perform tests in compliance with the stringent requirements of the Commission’s protocols for testing marijuana and marijuana products

Standards Testing Laboratory

A Standards Testing Laboratory is an entity that would otherwise qualify to be an Independent Testing Laboratory, but instead performs blind tests to verify the results of an Independent Testing Laboratory at the request of the Commission.

Marijuana Research Facility

A Marijuana Research Facility licensee or Research Licensee is an academic institution, non-profit corporation, domestic corporation, or entity authorized to do business in Massachusetts.

Third-Party Transporter

A Marijuana Transporter is an entity that may only transport marijuana or marijuana products and does not hold another ME license and is not licensed as an MTC.

Existing Licensee Transporter

An ME that is otherwise licensed by the Commission and also licensed to purchase, obtain, and possess Marijuana or Marijuana Products solely for the purpose of transporting, temporary storage, sale and distribution on behalf of other MEs or MTCs to other establishments, but not to consumers.

Marijuana Courier

A Marijuana Courier licensee may deliver marijuana or marijuana products directly to consumers or patients at a residential address from a Marijuana Retailer or Medical Marijuana Treatment Center with which the Marijuana Courier has a delivery agreement.

Delivery Operator

A Marijuana Delivery Operator may purchase at wholesale and warehouse finished marijuana or marijuana products acquired from a Marijuana Cultivator, Marijuana Product Manufacturer, Microbusiness or Craft Marijuana Cooperative, and sell and deliver directly to consumers.