Recreational Marijuana

March 2018

Note: The Cannabis Control Commission filed its final regulations on March 9, 2018, with the Secretary of State.

Subject to preparation by the Secretary’s Regulation Division, the regulations are scheduled to be published on March 23, 2018.  Click on the link below to view the filed regulations.


These regulations are not yet in effect.  The regulations will become effective when they are published in the Massachusetts Register.

Also, be advised that when the regulations are in effect, this will not be the official version of the regulations.  The official version will be available from the Secretary’s State Publications and Regulations Division, through the State Bookstore, Room 116, Boston, MA 02133, by calling (617) 727-2834, or by ordering through the State Bookstore on-line.

posted on March 16, 2018


Regional Planning Agency – Recreational Marijuana Working Group

In June, representatives from the states 13 Regional Planning Agencies agreed to form an informal RPA working group is to allow for the efficient and timely sharing of information through coordination of key staff members.  The objective is to facilitate a framework for the 13 RPA’s to share and host information for member communities related to the efficient and full implantation of the new (now revised) marijuana law, and to:

  • Increase efficiency by establishing an information sharing plan amongst the RPA’s and member communities.
  • Provide more comprehensive technical assistance through providing updated information and, ultimately, the preparation of model bylaws for use by member communities.
  • Reduce the amount of repetition amongst municipalities; many towns will face similar questions and create similar paths and providing information quickly to member communities can reduce help redundancy.
  • Foster a partnership with other municipal groups, such as the Mass Municipal Association and Mass Municipal Lawyers Association.

This page will be updated frequently.  Please check back and please share this resource with anyone seeking information on the municipal implementation of the new Recreational Marijuana Law.

February 2018

February 2, 2018 – On February 2, 2018 CMRPC hosted a municipal seminar at Worcester State University with Kay Doyle (Cannabis Control Commission), Katie Laughman (KP Law), and Joe Laydon (Grafton Planning Department).  Over 100 local municipal officials attended!  Thank you to everyone who attended and those who presented.  We are pleased to provide the presentation materials and a full audio recording.

To access the full, combined presentation materials, click here.

To access the individual presentations, click on the icons below.


Click here for a full audio recording of the presentations.  For ease of access, please review the following breakdown of the audio recording of the presentation:

CMRPC Welcome………………Janet Pierce……….00:00:01 through 00:04:25

CMRPC Introduction…………Jeff Bagg……………00:04:30 through 00:17:20

KP Law……………………………..Katie Laughman…00:17:30 through 01:05:30

CCC…………………………………..Kay Doyle………….01:03:35 through 01:24:25

brief break………………………………………01:24:25 through 01:30:30

CCC…………………………………..Kay Doyle………….01:30:50 through 02:07:35

Grafton………………………………Joe Laydon……….02:08:00 through 02:37:00

CMRPC Next Steps……………..Jeff Bagg…………..02:37:00 through 02:43:45

January 2018

January 24, 2018 – On Friday January 19th (during the MMA Annual Meeting) KP Law released an updated version of their “Guide to the Law Legalizing Non-Medical Marijuana, Revised January 2018.  To view, download, or print the document, click here.

January 16, 2018 – On January 9, 2018, the Cannabis Control Commission posted a new document entitled “Guidance for Municipalities Regarding Marijuana for Adult Use”.  This is an excellent resource for municipalities to begin to understand the new regulations.   To view, print, or save the new guidance document, click here.

Or, to access it directly from the CCC’s website, click here.

We note that in addition to working on Zoning Bylaws, etc.,  municipalities should begin to anticipate fairly extensive interaction with a Marijuana Establishment before they submit an application to the CCC.  This is because the new regulations require that an Establishment must submit proof of an executed Host Community Agreement as part of their application to the CCC.  Also, an Establishment is required (under the current draft regulations) to schedule, advertise, and hold a “community outreach hearing” in the community where a use is proposed.

December 2017

December 21, 2017 –  DRAFT REGULATIONS – The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) draft regulations were released. Public hearings on these regulations will be held in February 2018 with the final version of the regulations  due to be issued by March 15,2018.   Click here  to view the draft regulations.

December 14, 2017 – The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) is currently in the process of drafting regulations.  During the week of December 11th the Commission is meeting daily to review recommendations from the Cannabis Advisory Board and begin debate on regulations to be included.  Each day, the CCC is publishing a press release summarizing decisions made.

To view a single PDF of all four press releases, click here.

To view these updates on the “public documents” portion of the Cannabis Control Commission, click here.

The Commission will be submitting (and presumably publishing) draft regulations by December 29, 2017.

December 13, 2017 – The following is a short list of several municipalities actively creating zoning to regulate recreational marijuana uses.  The list is not comprehensive, nor do the documents imply recommendations or final approved language.

To view the General Host Community Agreement outline prepared by George Hull, Esq, of Anderson/Kreiger (submitted at the STAM meeting on November 9, 2017), click here.

November 2017

November 9, 2017 – Small Town Administrators of Massachusetts (STAM) will hold a panel discussion on “new marijuana laws” from 1:30 p.m.-3 at Sturbridge Town Hall.  The panel will include:

  • Jeffrey Bagg, Project Manager, Community Development and Planning, Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Committee
  • David Lakeman, Legislative Analyst, Massachusetts Municipal Association
  • T.b.d., Weedmaps Dispensaries, NETA (New England Treatment Access)
  • David Nixon, Town Administrator, Town of Hadley
  • Julie Jacobson, Town Manager, Town of Auburn

To view the agenda, click here.

October 2017

October 1-31, 2017 – The Cannabis Control Commission held a series of listening sessions across the state. To view all agenda’s and information posted on the Cannabis Control Commission website, click here.  To view the Cannabis Advisory Board website, click here.

October 26, 2017 – Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission submitted a letter to the CCC requesting that the validity of temporary moratoriums be addressed as soon as possible to ensure that communities can be provided the best and most up-to-date technical assistance. To view the letter, click here.

October 26, 2017 – MMA published an article entitled “Local control questions surround recreational marijuana” which provided a general overview of a half-day forum co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association and MMA to update municipal officials on the status of the new law.  To view the article, click here.

October 25, 2017 – MMA published an article entitled “Cannabis Control Commission has active month” which provides a good overview of various activities of the CCC and the Cannabis Advisory Board. To view the article, click here.

**October 24, 2017 – the Cannabis Control Commission held a regular meeting and discussed a variety of issues, including staffing.  During the Chairperson’s comments and updates, he **identified that the drafting of regulations was underway and that draft regulations are expected to be published in mid-December. Additionally, he identified that during the month of January the Commission would hold public hearings on the regulations at various locations across the state. 

October 18, 2017 – The Cannabis Control Commission hired Shawn Collins as the Executive Director of the Cannabis Control Commission.

October 5, 2017 – The Department of Public Health this week released guidance that paves the way for RMDs, which prior to the new legislation adopted this summer had to be organized as not-for-profit corporations under Chapter 180, to convert to for-profit corporate entities. The green light from DPH is a blessing for RMDs who, by virtue of the nonprofit requirement, were forced to adopt complex corporate structures. The Guidance can be found here. (Source Massachusetts Marijuana Counsel)

**October 3, 2017 – Nearly 150 municipal officials attended a half-day conference co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association and the MMA. The speakers included:

  • George Hall, Jr., Anderson & Krieger, LLP – Overview of statutory provisions affecting municipal regulation
  • Margaret Hurley, Esq., Office of the Attorney General, Municipal Law Unit – Options for local bylaws
  • Jeffrey Bagg, Project Manager, CMRPC – Land Use Planning and Implementation of the Statute

Mr. Hall reviewed in detail the changes and evolution of the law, including many of the unanswered technical questions related to how medical marijuana establishments interact with the new law. **Ms. Hurley raised a key concern about potential challenges to the validity of temporary moratoriums and noted that other actions may be needed by municipalities prior to April 1, 2018. Mr. Bagg began to explore some of the zoning considerations for the different types of recreational marijuana uses.

To view the “land use planning issues in implementing the statute” slide presentation, click here.


September 2017

The Cannabis Control Commission announces state-wide listening tour.  It starts on October 4, 2017!  To view the schedule, click here

To view the CCC website, click here.

To read a WBUR article from September 26, 2017, summarizing the CCC’s second meeting, click here.

Implementing the Revised Marijuana Statute – What Municipal Officials Need to Know Now.  TUESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2017, HOGAN CONFERENCE CENTER, HOLY CROSS COLLEGE, WORCESTER, MA. 

To view a September 22, 2017 PVPC overview letter and model moratorium language, click here.

To view a September 7, 2017 CMRPC Legislative Affairs memorandum, click here.

To view the KP Law updated guidance document (August 2017), click here.

To watch this very informative information session held on August  31, 2017 by the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and presented by Attorney J. Raymond Miyares, click here. (if the link is not direct, type in “marijuana” in the search bar)


August 2017

To view the MMA’s update/overview article, dated August 22, 2017, click here.

To watch this very informative webinar hosted by Foley Hoag, LLP on August 17, 2017, click here.

To view the AG’s East Bridgewater, issued on August 14, 2017, click here.

The new law references medical marijuana treatment centers licensed or registered before July 1, 2017.  To view the Department of Health’s list of RMD application status, updated through August 4, 2017,  click here.

The new law references the vote of communities on Question 4 in November.  To view the official results (broken down by number of votes) from the Secretary of States office, click here.  To view the Secretary of State’s interactive website on the results by county and by municipality, click here.

To view the Municipal Law Unit (i.e. the “AG’s office”) decisions on temporary moratoriums and other bylaw reviews related to recreational marijuana, click here.

July 2017

H.3818 together with Voter approved language – The following document is the text of the compromise House Bill, No. 3818 incorporated into the voter approved “Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act” language .  The purpose of this document is to allow municipalities to begin reviewing the entire new proposed legislation. To view the file, click here.

  • To review the House/Senate compromise bill, H. 3818 (dated July 17, 2017), click here.
  • To view a July 17, 2017 Boston Globe article summarizing the new bill, click here.
  • To view a July 31, 2017 MMA article: “Governor signs reworked recreational marijuana law”, click here.


June 2017

June 14, 2017 – Marijuana Policy Committee releases revisions to the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana law.

  • To view the Massachusetts House Proposed Marijuana Bill, click here.
  • To view the Massachusetts House Marijuana Proposal Outline, click here.
  • To view the June 14th MMA letter to House members, click here.
  • To review the Senate bill, S.2097 (dated June 22, 2017), click here.
  • To view the Mass Municipal Association letter to Conference Committee, dated June 26, 2017, click here.


May 2017

  • To view the CMRPC Legislative Affairs update, dated May 18, 2017, click here.


April 2017  – During late March and April, the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy held a series of public hearings to provide an “overview and discussion” of the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Law.

  • To view the Joint Committee’s webpage and view the pending bills, click here.
  • To view the Mass Municipal Association’s April 27, 2017 summary of the hearings, click here.


March 2017

Temporary Moratorium Information

On March 13th, 2017, CMRPC invited Planners and Planning Board Members to an interactive forum as a follow up to the Recreational Marijuana Listening Session. The Focus of our conversation was how to prepare a Temporary Moratorium in your community.

Panelists included:

  • Joseph Laydon – Grafton Town Planner
  • Jennifer Hager – Sutton Planning Director
  • Gary Bechtholdt – Northbridge Town Planner
  • Bernard Cahill – Shrewsbury Town Planner

To watch a video of the event, click here.

  • To view the West Bridgewater December 14, 2016 Warrant, click here
  • To view the West Bridgewater Municipal Law Unit decision (8242). January 18, 2017, click here
  • To view the Shrewsbury March 16, 2017 draft warrant, click here
  • To view the Grafton January 31, 2017 draft warrant, click here
  • To view the Northbridge Panning Board public hearing notice and draft warrant from February 22, 2017, click here
  • To view the Northbridge process flow chart, click here
  • To view the KP law Model Moratorium Warrant Article language, click here
  • To view Mass Municipal Association written comments to the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy, dated March 20, 2017, click here.
  • To watch the March 2017  video interview with the Governor discussing Recreational Marijuana, click here.
  • To view the March 2017 Town of Westborough Recreational Marijuana Ballot initiative and Town Meeting actions, click here.



  • On Friday, March 10, 2017, the MMLA held a seminar on “The New Marijuana Law – How Municipalities can (and should) Respond”

Please note that during the MMLA conference on March 10th, 2017, the director of the Municipal Law Unit confirmed that moratoriums extending to the end of December 2018 were reasonable based on the timeline and provisions in the new law.


February 2017

  • On February 14, 2017, the MetroWest Regional Collaborative (MWRC) and the Southwest Advisory Planning Committee (SWAP) held a joint educational forum about municipal planning for legalized recreational marijuana.

       Presentation by Jeffrey                        Presentation by Gregory,                        Bagg, CMRPC                                    Miao, Esq.;  MAPC           


  • To view an Attorney General decision on a Westborough bylaw related to both medical and recreational marijuana (note: this decision relates to zoning bylaw amendments made prior to December 15 2016, but contains some relevant information on the new law)click here.
  • To view the CMRPC Recreational Marijuana Update, dated February 3, 2017, click here.
  • To view the CMRPC letter to Senator Michael Moore, dated February 2, 2017, click here.


January 2017

  • To view the CMRPC “preliminary” Recreational Marijuana timeline, click here.
  • To view the *revised* KP Law guidance document, dated January 2017, click here.
  • To view the KP Law Model Ballot Question (prohibition) language, click here.
  • To view the Attorney General approval of West Bridgewater’s 18 month moratorium, click here.
  • To view The Regulation And Taxation Of Marijuana Act showing the EXTENSION dates, click here.


December 2016

After the passage of Question 4, many planners and town officials have begun to discuss how local communities will regulate retail sales of recreational marijuana. CMRPC hosted a “here’s what we know” information session for municipalities on Thursday, December 15, 2016 from 9:00 AM to noon. If you’d like to view the Power Point presentation, click here.

        Massachusetts 2016 Ballot Questions Cover

To view video from the December 15th Information and Listening Session, click here

  • To view the December 14, 2016 memo from Daniel Bennett, Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, click here.
  • To view the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards (MAHB) December 11, 2016 memo, click here.


November 2016

  • To view the MMA’s November 2016 Letter to the Governor and Legislative Leaders, click here.
  • To listen to a November 10, 2016 NPR interview with State Treasurer Deb Goldberg on this program, please click here.
  • To view the MMLA’s Letter to the Governor, Senate President and Speaker of the House, click here.
  • To view the DPH’s list and “current status of all Registered Marijuana Dispensaries and Applicants”, please click here.


March 2016

  • To view the March 2016 Report of the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana, click here.


For questions, please contact:

  1. Jeff Bagg
  2. Principal Planner/Project Manager
  3. Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC)
  5. 508-459-3342