Public Cannabis Use in Boston: Where are People Allowed to Use Cannabis?

Young woman smoking cannabis outside of her house

In 2016, nearly a century after Massachusetts became the first state in the Union to ban cannabis use, history came full circle. Question 4 on the 2016 ballot passed, and the possession and consumption of cannabis was decriminalized in the state. Compared to the other East Coast adopters of cannabis reform, Massachusetts has a thriving recreational cannabis industry, along with an eager consumer base that has been waiting for this decriminalization for decades. There is no shortage of excitement in Boston, where community activists have held regular rallies and festivals dedicated to the legalization of cannabis, such as the wildly popular Boston Freedom Rally.

What Cannabis Legalization Means for Massachusettsans

Currently, millions of Massachusettsans (and hundreds of thousands of Bostonians) can legally purchase and consume cannabis. That said, the laws regarding cannabis use are still being fleshed out. The legal nuances of cannabis use in Massachusetts are dynamic and may change in the coming years, but it’s important to know the laws to avoid legal consequences.

Cannabis Stigma is Fading

While cannabis used to be illegal to possess, consume, or transport in Massachusetts, there was also social stigma attached as well. Though recreational use is now legal, cannabis users may be hesitant to use a product that was heavily stigmatized in the prohibitionist past. Fortunately, the social stigma towards cannabis use is vanishing.

In Massachusetts, visiting a cannabis shop or dispensary is more like a trip to a typical retail store than an illicit deal behind a gas station. The array of cannabis products available to patients and consumers is vast, with an expanse of cultivars with their own unique experiences. Passionate and knowledgeable hosts, called budtenders, can help you find the perfect cannabis cultivar to deliver the experience you want.

Where Can You Use Cannabis in Boston?

In Boston, it is perfectly legal to consume cannabis on your own private property. If you own a residence in Boston, you can consume cannabis freely, so long as you remain on your property. This also extends to renters, but with some exceptions. In a private residence that belongs to another person, you are allowed to use cannabis products if the property managers or owners allow it. According to the ‘Marijuana Justice Act of 2017’, it is illegal to tell building owners that they can’t allow cannabis use by tenants or guests on their property. However, landlords reserve the right to forbid smoking, if they wish.

Outdoor spaces such as backyards and rooftops are also permissible, so long as they are not blatantly in public view. Events on privately-held properties, like birthday parties or barbecues, have the right to allow cannabis consumption for everyone over the age of 21.

Then there is a new wave of hotels, Airbnbs , and so-called “Bud n’ Breakfasts” that are gaining popularity in Massachusetts. To meet the hospitality needs of the influx of cannabis tourists, some places offer private places to relax in a 420-friendly environment. This industry is relatively new, but each day, more people are enjoying cannabis tourism, so expect your options to increase as time goes on.

Limitations to Boston’s Public Cannabis Use Laws

Although recreational cannabis is legal in Boston, it’s important to be aware of the local rules regarding possession and consumption. In Massachusetts, you cannot legally consume cannabis in public in any form, including (but not limited to):

  • Smoking
  • Vaping
  • Dabbing
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Topical application

It is also illegal to consume cannabis on federal property or federally-owned land, such as a national park, as cannabis is still illegal on the federal level. In Massachusetts, you can carry up to one ounce of cannabis on you, five grams of which can be in the form of concentrates like wax, shatter, and oils. However, when you are In public, you are required to keep your cannabis products in their unopened, childproof containers.

Driving with Cannabis in Boston

When it comes to driving, cannabis open container laws are the same as they are for alcohol. If cannabis is in your car, and you have an opened container, the Boston Public Health Commision recommends storing it in a locked glove compartment, or in the trunk, so that it’s secure and out of view. Ensure you don’t have visible cannabis in your vehicle when you get pulled over, and never drive while experiencing the effects of cannabis consumption.

Connect with Happy Valley in Boston

If you’re looking to experience the best of Boston’s cannabis culture, be sure to visit our Boston dispensary, where our dedicated staff are always ready to help. Check out our resources page, where you can find answers to all your cannabis questions, find local tours and events, and keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.

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