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.

Step
1

Complete the online application

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

  • Ownership interest 
  • Floor plan
  • Security and operations plan 
  • Refusal letter from Inspectional Services 

We also need your legal right to occupy the premise in the form of a:

  • lease agreement 
  • letter of intent from the landlord, or
  • deed.
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

Step
2

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

Step
3

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.

Step
4

Create a Host Community Agreement

If you are approved by the Boston Cannabis Board (the "BCB"), they will provide you with a draft Host Community Agreement incorporating:

  • any standard conditions placed by the BCB on a license, or
  • any conditions specific to the grant of your license for your review and input.

Once an agreement is executed, the City can schedule a Zoning Board of Appeal date to hear your case.

Step
5

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.

Step
6

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.

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