Contact Stephanie Schuman,
Principal Counsel & Attorney-at-Law


For Cultivators

What does a Cultivation License Enable?

A cultivation license allows an entity to cultivate, process and package marijuana. Such license also allows the entity to transfer marijuana to other marijuana establishments, but not to consumers. Cultivators are limited to three licenses that are tied to one location. Licensees may not have more than 100,000 square feet of canopy. This canopy may span across no more than three licenses.

Cultivators must select their cultivation tier which determines the square footage of the canopy that can be cultivated and the associated licensing fee that must be paid.

Craft Marijuana Cooperatives

A craft marijuana cooperative means that the cultivator is comprised of residents of the Commonwealth and is organized as an LLC, LLP, or a cooperative corporation under the Commonwealth laws. Such cooperative is licensed to cultivate, obtain, manufacture, process, package, and brand cannabis or marijuana products to transport marijuana to establishments just not consumers.

These cooperatives are limited to one license, under which it may cultivate up to 100,000 square feet of canopy. However, there is no limit on the number of cultivation locations that a cooperative may operate. Additional application and licensing fees are necessary for each location over six locations.

For the electronic seed-to-sale tracking system, a cooperative that designates a system administrator must pay one licensing program fee monthly for seed-to-sale tracking software.

Cooperatives may also conduct activities authorized for Marijuana Product Manufacturers at up to three locations.

The members or shareholders of the cooperative must be residents of the Commonwealth for the 12 months immediately preceding the filing of the application for a license. Members of a cooperative cannot have a controlling interest in any other Marijuana Establishment. Additionally, one member of the cooperative must have filed a Schedule F tax income form within the five years preceding the application for licensure. Finally, the cooperative must operate consistently with the Seven Cooperative Principles established by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA).

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Member Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy and Independence
  5. Education, Training, and Information
  6. Co-operation among Co-operatives
  7. Concern for Community


A microbusiness means a Marijuana Establishment that can be a Tier 1 Marijuana Cultivator, a Product Manufacturer or both. Microbusiness license holders that are manufacturers may not purchase more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana per year from other Marijuana Establishments. Microbusiness licensees cannot have any ownership stake in any other Marijuana Establishment.

Application for Registration Cards for Employees

Agents of Marijuana Establishments must be 21 years of age or older and registered with the commission. Both the application fee for a registration card and the renewal fee are $50.00.

Additional Fees about which the Entity Should be Aware

  • Name change fee: $100
  • Location change fee: 50% of applicable license fee
  • Change in building structure fee: $500
  • Change in ownership or control fee: $500

Background Checks

The background check fee is $400 per individual. Certain individuals associated with the marijuana establishment will need to pay an additional fee for fingerprint-based background check.

Plant Tagging

Marijuana establishments are required to track marijuana from seed to sale using an interoperable database and plant and package RFID tags. There is a monthly program fee of $40 for the software. Economic Empowerment Applicants, Craft Marijuana Cooperatives and Microbusinesses get a fee waiver. Plant tags are 45 cents each. Package tags are 25 cents each.


Cultivators and cooperatives may apply to change the tier in which they are classified at the time of their license renewal or six months after the issuance of its initial license issuance or license renewal. It is important to note that application fees are not refunded in the case of reduction. However, in the case of expansion, the licensee must pay the increased fee. Also, to expand, the licensee must demonstrate that it sold 85% of its production consistently over the six months preceding the application of expanded production.


The Commission may relegate a cultivator's tier based on the Marijuana Cultivator's production during the six months prior to the application for renewal. The Commission reserves the right to reduce the licensee's maximum canopy to a lower tier if the licensee sold less that 70% of what is produced. However, the Commission will generally account for cultivation history including (1) whether there was a catastrophic event that affected production; (2) transfers, sales, and excise tax payment history; (3) inventory history, existing inventory, and sales contracts; and (4) other factors that it deems relevant to ensuring responsible cultivation, production, and inventory management.


An entity must review local bylaws or ordinances to ensure that it is permitted to grow marijuana in the selected region.


The Environment Protection Agency currently prohibits the use of a registered pesticides on marijuana or hemp.

Age Restrictions

Only persons 21 years of age or older may work on the premises of a marijuana establishment. This prohibition even extends to individuals working on other crops on the same premises.

Changes to the Security Arrangements

Marijuana facilities may submit alternate security provisions to the Commission. The commission will then submit the entity's request to the chief law enforcement officer in its host community and ask that the officer review the request and respond within 30 days to certify that the alternate provisions are sufficient or explain why the proposals are insufficient.

Seed- to-Sale

Immature Batches

A licensee must add their beginning investor to Metric. Clones are to be entered as strain- specific immature batches. The maximum number of clones per batch is 100. Further, the licensee is required to tag each clone once it reaches 8 inches. All the clone packages must be strain- specific, and the item name must include the word clones. Strain names are required. Mystery strains are not permitted.

In order to track the chain of custody, strain-specific clone and seed packages are transferred using a transfer manifest in Metric. Harvested seeds must be tracked. Each harvested seed package cannot contain more than 50 seeds. Similarly, strain-specific immature seeds will be counted and entered into metric unless they are in the process of being planted. Finally, when transferring seeds to a retailer, the seeds are physically put into packages of six for sale. Licensees may put multiple packages of six under one metric tag. However, licensees may not put more than 2099 in one tag. Packages must also be strain specific and the item name must include the word seeds.

Additives are required to be tracked per plant or per room. An additive cannot be edited or deleted once it is entered. Licensees are responsible for calling the manufacturer and obtaining accurate information when unsure.

Tag shipping is not a sufficient excuse for running out of a supply once the Marijuana Establishment is licensed.

Harvesting Plants

Licensees are required to destroy their multi-strain batches. If a licensee enters the incorrect wet weight for a plant, the licensee should complete an incident report within 48 hours of harvest. The licensee should also document a plan of correction requiring the batch be discontinued if no packages or waste were created, and make the correction. However, if the 48 hours after harvest have elapsed without the licensee filling out an incident report, then the licensee must destroy the batch and identify it as waste in Metric. It is important to note that licensees are not permitted to average the wet weights of the plants in their harvest batches.

Test packages are limited to 10 pounds of flower or trim and are to be made from each strain-specific harvest batch.

Waste should be reported in Metric by strain at the end of the business day, not as an entire harvest batch.

At the end of each day, the inventory must match what is reported in Metric. If a harvest is spread over multiple days, the harvest at the end of each day must be recorded. Each batch name should include the strain name and date of harvest. There is no maximum amount of plants in a harvest batch. The requirement is that any product harvested throughout the day must match the end of the day inventory in metric. Licensees are permitted to handwrite tags legibly to keep with their curing manicure batches.

Creating Packages after Curing

The total package weight that can be transferred for testing after curing is 10 pounds. All packages must use a strain name not a number. A licensee may not repackage the same strain product into a bulk package after testing is complete.

Transferring Product after Testing

A licensee may not transfer or receive product from a licensee that is not licensed in Metric. Licensees can list multiple drivers on a manifest. For each driver, the name and badge/registration card number must be included. Additionally, travel routes and driver changes must be included.

If one Marijuana Establishment is transferring product to another Marijuana Establishment that is affiliated with the same license, then this is an affiliated transfer. If one Marijuana Establishment is transferring product to another Marijuana Establishment that is affiliated with a different license, then this is an unaffiliated transfer.

A licensee is not permitted to send whole wet plants to a different licensee to dry, cure, and package into bud and trim packages and test on their behalf.


Retailers are permitted to enter their beginning sales in bulk. Retailers cannot create gift box package tags.

Retailers must void or edit their sales is their file was uploaded twice, sold from the incorrect package ID, if they or need to delete a sale.

Contact the attorneys at Leaf Legal, P.C. for help staying in compliance with Massachusetts Marijuana laws. 

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