Massachusetts Marijuana Stats & Treatment

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit substance in the United States and in the state of Massachusetts, where use is higher than national averages.1,2

Read on to learn more about marijuana use in Massachusetts, local marijuana addiction stats, marijuana legalization laws, and Massachusetts addiction treatment options.

Can You Get Addicted to Weed?

Yes, Marijuana is a potentially addictive substance. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) warns that nearly one-third of individuals who use marijuana may struggle with an addiction to the drug. The risk goes up 4-7 times for those who start using marijuana before age 18.3

In 2021, 18.7% of people aged 12 or older (52.5 million people) used it in the past year.1

Between 2017–2019 in Massachusetts (the most recent data available), an estimated 21.7% of people aged 12 or older (1.3 million) used marijuana in the past year, which was more than the national average of 16.2%.2

During that same period, 132,000 people in Massachusetts met the criteria for a marijuana use disorder or clinically diagnosed marijuana addiction.2

Like trends across the U.S., marijuana use in Massachusetts is most common among young adults aged 18–25, with 46.2% of MA residents in this age group (365,000 people) engaging in past-year use.2

Additionally, between 2017–2019, an estimated 12.2% of youths aged 12–17 (or 58,000 kids) used marijuana in the past year in Massachusetts, which was nearly double the national average of 6.8%.2

Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana use is legal in Massachusetts for medical and recreational purposes with certain parameters.

The Medical Use of Marijuana Program was established in 2012 in Massachusetts, which allows eligible residents to obtain marijuana for medical use through a special license or prescription. And in December 2016, Massachusetts voters legalized the recreational use of marijuana for individuals aged 21 and older.4

Since its legalization, lawmakers have relaxed marijuana laws in Massachusetts. Here is a quick overview of Massachusetts marijuana legalization:5

  • Residents aged 21 and older may possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana in their homes.
  • Residents aged 21 and older may possess up to one ounce of marijuana in public.
  • Residents aged 21 and older may grow up to 6 plants each (not to exceed 12 plants in a household) in a secure or locked location within the primary residence and not visible from a public space.
  • Marijuana cannot be consumed in a public place.
  • Open containers of marijuana are not allowed in a vehicle; open containers must be secured in the trunk or locked glove box.
  • Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.

Individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 who purchase or attempt to purchase marijuana or marijuana products (other than those with a registration card for medical marijuana use) may receive a fine of up to $100 and be required to complete a drug awareness program. The parents of minors 18 and under will also be notified if their child attempts to purchase any form of marijuana.

As of 2023, there were 14 licensed marijuana retailers or dispensaries in Massachusetts, with another 60 licenses in process, 156 locations with provisional licenses, and 32 shops with provisional consideration.6

MA Marijuana Addiction Treatment & Help

Treatment for marijuana addiction is managed through a range of services in Massachusetts.

Public addiction treatment is offered through community health centers (CHCs) in a resident’s specific municipality, as well as through community-based providers. Public services are open to all residents and generally accept individuals in priority order depending on level of need (both financial and medical).

Pregnant women, people with families, and those in significant crisis typically will be offered public treatment services first. For the general public, these public providers often have long waiting lists and specific eligibility requirements.

Private providers can often offer immediate assistance and may also have more amenities and treatment options to choose from. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator provides current information on local behavioral health treatment providers that are regulated by the state and open to Massachusetts residents.

Preventative, treatment, and recovery services are often offered on a local basis by community coalitions and nonprofit organizations, as well as through statewide initiatives and federal and state grant-funded programs.

The Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR) is a statewide organization providing a wide range of resources for individuals battling addiction within the Commonwealth. The Center for Strategic Prevention Support provides funding and technical assistance (TA) to local organizations and Massachusetts municipalities supporting drug abuse prevention and educational efforts.

Local efforts, such as the Revere CARES Coalition and Drug Free Greater Lowell, strive to improve local neighborhoods and strengthen communities by promoting drug-free environments and offering substance abuse education to the public.

Recovery support is offered through organizations like Learn to Cope, which is aimed at providing family treatment resources, and Marijuana Anonymous (MA) in Massachusetts.

Individuals may also be eligible for drug diversion programs through one of the 27 adult or three juvenile drug courts in the Commonwealth. These programs help individuals get into a drug addiction treatment program, often in exchange for a lesser or dropped sentence upon completion of the program.

Marijuana Rehab at AdCare

If you or a loved one is struggling with marijuana addiction, professional treatment can help.

At AdCare Treatment Centers, we offer different types of addiction treatment and have multiple locations in the New England area, including our:

To learn more about our programs or the rehab admissions process, call us at today. Our admissions navigators are available around the clock to discuss your treatment and payment options, how to use health insurance for addiction treatment, and any other questions you might have.

You can also confirm your coverage and get more information about using your specific insurance plan at AdCare by filling out this simple and secure

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AdCare has multiple locations throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island, making it easily accessible to most parts of New England. We offer an integrated system of care and have been helping individuals and families struggling with addiction for 45 years. Take the next step toward recovery: learn more about our addiction treatment programs in MA and RI or learn about how rehab is affordable for everyone.