How to Start a Marijuana Delivery Service in Massachusetts

Potential business hoping to acquire a medical marijuana business license are in luck, as the permit limit was not reached during the last window for application (meaning there are still spots left). Applying sooner rather than later is a good idea, as candidates are reviewed on a first come, first serve basis.

With the addition of numerous marijuana businesses in Massachusetts, expected profits are sky-rocketing. According to experts, in less than five years Massachusetts’ marijuana businesses will earn a total revenue of roughly $1 billion.

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    The compassionate medical marijuana program in Massachusetts was voted in (as “Question 3”) successfully in November of 2012. Massachusetts was the 18th state in the nation to reach this accomplishment.

    During a certain amount of time, a limit of 35 sites, whether a dispensary (also known as a medical marijuana treatment center) or cultivation facility, was required, but that turned out not to matter because only 15 licenses were awarded.

    When was cannabis made legal
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    Massachusetts legalized recreational marijuana on November 8th, 2016. It was the first state along the East Coast to do so. Before that, in June of 2015, the application window was reopened to allow for further dispensary applications (called Registered Marijuana Dispensaries, or RMDs). They were nonprofit organizations that needed a Certificate of Registration to operate.

    The application window does not have an end date yet, if ever. Applications will be reviewed as they come in, so applying earlier is advantageous to the applicant. Because there is not a limit on the timing or the number of dispensaries allowed, applicants will likely be successful as long as they follow the regulations and Chapter 369.

    Number of retail businesses allowed

    There are currently 12 medical marijuana businesses in operation in Massachusetts, but there is no limit on a number allowed. There are nearly 100 that have applied, but this is only an indication of the first steps being taken โ€“ not whether they will actually be granted a license or not. Estimates say that there are over 5,000 medical marijuana patients statewide.

    As for recreational (or “adult-use”) licenses, there is a limit of 75 total businesses just until the start of October 2018. So far, no licenses have been issued. Cities or towns have the right to create a limit for their area, in which case priority will be granted to those with medical operation experience. After that, a lottery system would be used to fill the remaining spots.

    How much money is there in the delivery market

    The cannabis industry is booming in the state of Massachusetts. In 2016, there were $100,000,000 in medical sales. By 2021 this number is expected to be around $238,400,000. Adult-use sales are expected to bring in even more revenue, with estimates sitting at around $929,300,000 by 2021.

    How much money is there in the delivery market
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    Possible marijuana business opportunities in Massachusetts

    Currently, Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers, or Registered Marijuana Dispensaries, are already allowed in Massachusetts. A Registered Marijuana Dispensary is one that is nonprofit and is allowed to dispense, grow, and obtain marijuana and products related to marijuana. Since November of 2016 recreational businesses have also been allowed.

    Retail marijuana stores (including delivery services), marijuana product manufacturers, marijuana cultivators, and marijuana testing facilities all have provisions as of December 15th, 2016.

    Possible marijuana business opportunities in Massachusetts
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    An application process has not yet been established by the state. April of 2018 is when recreational facilities and businesses may begin applying to get a license. Two months later is when the first licenses will actually begin being issued.

    Businesses may open on July 1st, 2018 at the earliest. Until that date, businesses with the highest level of experience operating medical marijuana treatment centers will be issues licenses first. After that, there will be a lottery system for applicants that meet the qualifications.

    License requirements

    Along with dispensaries, a marijuana delivery business falls under the retail category of license. The other types of licenses that could be issued are Testing Facility, Manufacturer, and Cultivator.

    License requirements are designed to be similar to the requirements of an alcohol licensee. If an applicant has had convictions related to marijuana in the past, he or she will not be disqualified because of it.

    There is a chance that the Cannabis Control Commission will decide to cap the number of cultivation businesses in the state. Thus far, there is a limit of 75 until October of 2019. There is also a limit of 75 cannabis product manufacturers until October of 2018.

    Once an applicant submits an application (to the Cannabis Control Commission), a copy of it is forwarded to the specific municipality that the applicant would like to establish their business. A rejection or an approval notification will be officially received 90 days or less after the point of application.

    Financial requirements

    The fees associated with applying for marijuana licenses in Massachusetts are:

    For adult use:

    • Initial Application fee: up to $3,000
    • License for retail marijuana store: $15,000
    • License for a marijuana cultivator: up to $15,000
    • License for a marijuana testing facility: up to $10,000
    Financial requirements
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    For medical businesses:

    • Dispensary Stage 1 Application Fee: $1,500
    • Dispensary Stage 2 Application Fee: $30,000
    • Architectural review: $8.25 per $1,000 of construction costs, with a minimum fee of $1,500

    How much does a marijuana delivery service in Massachusetts make?

    Marijuana delivery services profits can vary, but they generally bring anywhere from $50,000 a year up to millions โ€“ sometimes even more.


    It can take a while to get any cannabis business up and running. It is best to plan for at least a year to allow time to get finances in order, acquire necessary licenses, source suppliers and hire employees.

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      Looking to start a marijuana delivery business in Massachusetts? These consulting companies can help you get started. They assist with a variety of cannabusiness services, from helping potential owners navigate state licensing requirements to running and stocking your business.

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