Marijuana Regulations

Adult Use Marijuana

On November 8, 2016, Massachusetts voters approved an initiative legalizing the cultivation and sale of recreational marijuana in the Commonwealth. In accordance with M.G.L. c. 94G and its implementing regulations 935 CMR 500, Worcester is required to facilitate the establishment of 15 regulated Marijuana Retailers.

In response, the City has adopted or proposed the following:

  1. The City has adopted a local sales tax of 3% on the sale of recreational marijuana.
  2. The City will negotiate community host agreements to provide resources for the oversight of marijuana establishments.
  3. The City is required to limit the number of marijuana retailers to no less than 20% of the number of "off-premises" alcohol licenses allotted to the City which, under the current allotment of 74, would limit the number of marijuana retailers to 15.
  4. The City has adopted a city ordinance imposing appropriate "time, place and manner" restrictions on the operation of local marijuana establishments by requiring such establishments to obtain a license from the license commission before commencing operations in Worcester.
  5. The City has adopted an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to regulate adult use marijuana establishments.

Request For Interest

The City of Worcester issued a Request For Interest (RFI) as a process for reviewing adult use marijuana establishments seeking community host agreements. The deadline for Round 1 submissions was August 24, 2018. Applications for cultivation, microbusiness, product manufacturing, transportation and testing lab licenses continue to be accepted on a rolling basis.

Retail applications are not currently being accepted unless otherwise notified. 

Additional information including amendments to the RFI and FAQs will be posted as needed (please see below). Any questions should be submitted to

Request for Interest

Local Resources

State Resources

Have A Question?

When should I host my community meeting?
The City will not review your RFI application unless you have held your mandatory community meeting.

What guidelines should I follow when conducting my community meeting?
The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) has the following guidelines:
Community Outreach Guidance and Forms.

Please be advised that the community outreach meeting guidelines are a minimum. Significant efforts should be made to notify the public, neighbors, city officials and elected officials. 

What format should I use to submit the RFI documents? 
PDF copies of the documentation needed for a submission to the Cannabis Control Commission in their application process should be sent to

The requested documents may be included as attachments in an email. A link to a file sharing platform like Dropbox may also be used. 

Since the Cannabis Control Commission application is through an online portal, screenshots of the fillable portions of the application should be included in the RFI submission as well as PDF copies of any attachments requested by the Cannabis Control Commission. 

What if I miss the RFI deadline?

The City of Worcester is required by state law to allow for the establishment of 15 marijuana retail stores. Should 15 locations not be approved in the initial RFI period (due August 24), the City will accept additional applications on a rolling basis. Applications received by the August 24 deadline will be reviewed first.  The City of Worcester is not accepting additional retail applications at this time unless otherwise notified. 

Registered Marijuana Dispensaries

On November 6, 2012, Ballot Question 3, "An Initiative Petition for a Law for Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana" passed with 63.3% of the vote (61.96% in Worcester), making Massachusetts the 18th state in the nation to approve the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

For the most up to date information about state licensing of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, please visit the Cannabis Control Commission's Applicants and Licensees.

Local Resources

Contact Information

Planning & Regulatory Services
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455 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608

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Phone: 508-799-1400
Fax: 508-799-1406
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