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Establishing a cannabis business in Boston

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Learn about the process involved in setting up a cannabis business in the City of Boston.


Complete the online application

You need to provide a number of details, including what type of license you are applying for. We will also need to know:

  • what types of extractions you will be performing (if any), and
  • all of the owners of the business.
Please note:

You can’t take part in a cannabis business seeking approval — or planning to seek approval — from the City of Boston if you are an employee, or an immediate family member of an employee, of the:

  • City of Boston
  • Zoning Board of Appeal
  • Boston Licensing Board
  • Boston Public Health Commission
  • Boston Zoning Commission, or 
  • Boston Redevelopment Authority d/b/a the Boston Planning and Development Agency.

Cannabis online application


Apply for a conditional use permit

To apply for the permit, visit the City’s Inspectional Services Department:

1010 Massachusetts Avenue
5th floor, Counter #1
Boston, MA 02118


Go through the appeal process

For many reasons, Inspectional Services may deny your permit. If your permit is denied, you must file an appeal with the Zoning Board of Appeal.

After the City receives your appeal

Neighborhood Services and the Office of Emerging Industries will work with you to begin the community review process. This process includes:

  • providing you with a list of abutters near your potential business
  • scheduling a public meeting date in an accessible location, and
  • informing you of the mandatory public notice requirements involved.

A Neighborhood Services representative will attend the public meeting. They are there to make sure you comply with City and state cannabis public meeting requirements. After the meeting, the Boston Cannabis Board will review and approve or deny your application.


Create a Host Community Agreement

If you are approved by the Boston Cannabis Board, you will work with the City of Boston Law Department to negotiate a Host Community Agreement. Once an agreement is executed, the City can schedule a Zoning Board of Appeal date to hear your case.


Go through the state process

If the Zoning Board of Appeal approves your conditional use permit, you will then have to go through the state application process with the Cannabis Control Commission. The City of Boston will provide the commission a document that shows you have executed a Host Community Agreement.

If the Cannabis Control Commission approves your establishment, it will notify the City of Boston.


After getting final approval from the state, register as a business in the City

All licensed cannabis businesses in Boston must file a Business Registration with the Office of the City Clerk, as required by MGL Chapter 110, Section 5.

The paperwork requested in Steps 2-5 of this page must be included when submitting your Business Registration Form. The filing fee for the Business Registration is $65.00.

Need to Know:
Boston Equity program for cannabis businesses

We want to create a system that fosters racial equity and inclusion in the new cannabis industry. Our goal is to bring the benefit of this industry to all Boston communities:

Boston equity program

Have questions? Contact:



Cannabis legalization in Boston

We have information from the state and City about cannabis legalization.

Cannabis information

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