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How Massachusetts Weed Became Legal

Our Fitchburg dispensary can operate because Massachusetts residents voted to legalize cannabis back in 2016. So much has happened to the cannabis industry in the last five years since this legalization. Let’s take a closer look at how Massachusetts weed became legal in the first place and see what we might expect for the future!

In November of 2016, Massachusetts voters approved Question 4. This was a ballot initiative backed by the Marijuana Policy Project proposing an end to cannabis prohibition for adults 21 and older. 

Of course, cannabis legalization in Massachusetts wasn’t a simple transition. As with most states that opt to end cannabis prohibition, there were plenty of wrinkles to iron out before Massachusetts weed could end up in the hands of residents. 

Massachusetts weed legalization timeline

The road to legalization was paved with many milestones along the way. The following events led to the end of cannabis prohibition in Massachusetts: 2008 – Decriminalization: Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. This change made getting caught with under an ounce of weed punishable only by a civil fine of $100. 

2012 – Medical Marijuana Legalization:
Just four years after voters approved decriminalizing cannabis in the state, Massachusetts became the 18th state to approve medical marijuana.

2016 – Recreational Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization:
Voters approved Question 4, ending the prohibition of adult-use cannabis in the state. 

2018 – Sales begin:
More than two years after voters approved the legalization of adult-use recreational cannabis, the first sales finally took place in the state. 

As you can see, support for new cannabis laws in the state stayed consistent after decriminalization was approved. And while there was much excitement surrounding the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts, there was also a long wait. The first legal cannabis purchases did not occur until over two years after the plant was legalized. 

Opposition for past Massachusetts cannabis 

Given the overwhelming support each cannabis initiative in the state received, you may think the whole state is on board with legalization. There are some residents and groups who oppose Massachusetts cannabis, though. 

During the push for decriminalization, voters approved the initiative 65 percent to 35 percent. While this was a large victory for decriminalization, it left 35 percent of voters disappointed. 

Supporters wanted to focus law enforcement resources on violent, serious crimes. They       did not find marijuana use to fit that category. On the other hand, opponents felt that legalization would promote drug use and benefit drug dealers. Additionally, they worried that there would be more violence on the streets alongside a rise in youth DUIs. 

Still, the voters showed support for decriminalization in much higher numbers than opposition, which led to the 2008 victory in Massachusetts. 

There was also plenty of opposition to the push for medical marijuana legalization in 2012. Still, over 60 percent of voters approved medical marijuana in Massachusetts. 

Among the opponents of the proposition were members of the state’s association of police chiefs. They noted concern about how loosely the initiative was written, expressing concerns that some people may misuse the system even if they wouldn’t benefit from medical cannabis. 

The biggest concern for the association was the potential for pot to be a gateway drug. They also noted that the plant was still federally illegal, there wasn’t enough scientific evidence to   medical claims, and that legalization may send a bad message to children.

Again, these concerns did not stop the state from approving the legalization of medical marijuana. 

As you may be able to guess from past opposition, there were plenty of people who opposed recreational cannabis in Massachusetts. The race was closer than previous cannabis initiatives, with voters approving the initiative at a margin of 54 to 46 percent.

The reasons behind opposition did not differ from previous ones. The major concerns of opponents included fears that legalization would send the wrong message to the youth. 

What’s happened since Massachusetts weed became legal? 

Five years after adult-use recreational cannabis was made legal in Massachusetts, a lot has changed. We have opened our Fitchburg pot shop to serve residents in our portion of the state and the future looks bright. Still, there’s a lot to reflect on in the last five years. 

The Cannabis Control Commission has granted over 249 final licenses and overseen the opening of over 120 retailers. Our Fitchburg dispensary is one of the many new retailers that have opened since 2018. Sales in the state have grossed $1.45 billion, with more than $90 million in just sales tax. 

Becoming a licensed dispensary in Massachusetts can be extremely difficult, though. There are a lot of hurdles and roadblocks to overcome in order to comply with the Cannabis Control Commission’s requirements. 

A number of areas have opted out of allowing cannabis in their municipalities. For example, Winchester, Wayland, Revere, and Monterey are all cities that have banned cannabis businesses from operating. These are just a couple of examples, though. There are many more areas throughout the state that ban cannabis establishments from operating. 

Some areas have also established a cap on the number of marijuana establishments that can operate. This means there is a limited number of licenses that can be obtained in certain municipalities. 

The Healing Center is a proud part of the Fitchburg cannabis community

Cannabis retailers began opening their doors in 2018 but The Healing Center did not begin operations until 2021. Given the number of regulatory hurdles necessary to comply with state laws, this is no surprise. We worked hard to make our Fitchburg weed store compliant with state laws and unique all at once. 

As the fourth dispensary in Fitchburg to open, we are a proud member of the Fitchburg cannabis community and the larger Massachusetts cannabis industry as a whole. We know the potential cannabis provides to experience healing in a variety of ways and we are proud to provide the best cannabis the state has to offer. 

We are open 10 am to 8 pm every day. Stop by and shop with us!

Top 3 Most Popular Weed Products at The Healing Center Dispensary

We rounded up some of the most popular Cannabis products at our shop for you to check out! With a variety of options, you’re sure to find something you’ll want to try!

Tahoe OG by Sira Naturals

How Massachusetts Weed Became Legal

Tahoe OG is the perfect rainy day strain. Strong and fast-acting, you may not want to use this strain when you’re planning to leave the house. Great for those suffering from insomnia, pain, or lack of appetite, Tahoe OG has made a name for itself among other indica’s. A top night-time strain, it provides an extremely lazy, heavy body sensation. Due to superb breeding, Tahoe OG embodies all of the typical indica effects with an added euphoric, sativa-like kick. This strain features an earthy, lemon taste, and is a phenotype of OG Kush. Maturing at around 10 weeks, Tahoe OG is a must-try for those looking for a great night’s sleep.


Pineapple Habanero Camino Gummies by Kiva

How Massachusetts Weed Became Legal

Inspired by El Camino Real, these Pineapple Habanero gummies take you on a trip, with their energy giving sativa boost and invigorating tropical flavors with just a touch of heat. Each uplifting gummy is infused with 5mg of THC, making this sweet/hot treat perfect for daytime use. These gummies are the perfect solution to people who want to be able to control their high better. Camino Gummies make microdosing cannabis easy and fun!


Wild Mint Cartridge by Fernway

How Massachusetts Weed Became Legal

Wild Mint is smooth and herbaceous, like a handful of freshly picked mint. Wild Mint vape cartridge by Fernway is great for the afterparty on the roof, cooling down after a jog, your favorite ice cream, a comedy night with Netflix, or a relaxing evening on your balcony during a sunset. Fernway cartridges have a signature mouthpiece, surgical grade steel, shock proof tank, optimized heating element and univsal 510 thread.


The Healing Center is a recreational Cannabis dispensary located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts serving all guests 21 or over with legal identification. We carry a wide selection of brands with a variety of categories like cannabis flower, concentrates, pre-rolled joints, vaporizer cartridges, edibles, infused drinks, tinctures, topicals, and accessories. You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

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