Massachusetts adult-use cannabis: By the numbers

Published on September 15, 2021 · Last updated February 16, 2022
Massachusetts map
Massachusetts map

Hey, prohibitionists—do you like apples?

Because Massachusetts has done $2 billion in legal cannabis sales in the last three years. How do you like them apples?

But seriously—shout-out to how far Massachusetts has come. From a lackluster start to legalization on Nov. 8, 2016, to today’s all-singing, all-dancing beacon in the northeast.

Here’s Massachusetts legal cannabis—by the numbers.

Executive summary

Massachusetts legal cannabis industry metrics(Leafly, 2021)
(Leafly, 2021)

Digging into the details

Massachusetts’ heavily state-controlled industry wasn’t built in a day. But it’s becoming a legal superpower supplying a large amount of legal cannabis:

  • Day voters approved Question 4: November 8, 2016
  • First day of legal sales: November 20, 2018
  • Gross sales total since retailers opened: $2.05B (11/18 to today)
  • Year to date retail sales: $886M (Jan. -end Aug. 2021)
The most popular cannabis strains in Massachusetts right now

Market penetration

Still, the vast majority of Massachusetts cannabis consumers will likely buy from the street until there are more stores.

  • Population: 6.893 million
  • Number of marijuana retailer final licenses: 170
  • Final store licenses per capita: 1 store per 40,547 residents

Massachusetts’ newly legal smokers love their pre-rolls! The top cannabis product categories in Massachusetts are:

  • buds—31%
  • raw pre-rolls—28%
  • edibles—19%
  • vape products—13%
  • concentrate—5%
  • beverage—3%
  • infused pre-rolls—1%
The word 'pre-roll' comes from the idea of a 'pre-rolled joint'. But shouldn't it just be called a roll or a joint? Of course someone pre-rolled it. (Adobe Stock)
The word ‘pre-roll’ comes from the concept of a ‘pre-rolled joint’. But shouldn’t it just be called a ‘roll’ or a joint? No one says, ‘I’d like a pre-scoop of ice cream.’ Or a ‘pre-bottled beer.’ Anyways … where were we? Ah yes, the numbers. (Adobe Stock)

Cultivation warming up

Also slow-rolling—the emergence of legal cultivation in The Pilgrim State. The relatively few farms in existence have massive plant counts.

  • Marijuana cultivator final licenses: 88
  • Craft marijuana co-ops: 2
  • Total plant count for Aug. 49.1M

Taxes, and typical consumer spending

And now for the most important question, how much are the taxes and what does stuff cost?

Adult-use marijuana is subject to:

  • state sales tax—6.25%
  • state excise tax—10.75%
  • local option for cities or towns—up to 3%

A legal ounce is still pretty pricy, and most shoppers are just dabbling.

  • monthly average cost per 1 ounce of adult-use cannabis: $397.11
  • average spent per transaction: $41.32

What’s the law again?

Lastly, you can’t blame anyone for not knowing the specific letter of the law—like how much flower you can walk around with, or grow. It’s enough to stay lit pretty much every day; if that’s your thing.

  • amount of flower legal to possess in public: 2 ounces
  • number of plants legal to cultivate at home: 12

(Sources: Massachusetts Cannabis Control; Leafly)

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David Downs
David Downs
Leafly Senior Editor David Downs is the former Cannabis Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. He's appeared on The Today Show, and written for Scientific American, The New York Times, WIRED, Rolling Stone, The Onion A/V Club, High Times, and many more outlets. He is a 2023 judge for The Emerald Cup, and has covered weed since 2009.
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