The state of Massachusetts has just rolled out new laws controlling the sale of tobacco. Among a few minor adjustments, the new laws introduce one major change. Specifically, you now have to be at least 21 years old to purchase tobacco products in the state.
Massachusetts’ New Tobacco Laws
The new laws officially went into effect on New Year’s Eve. And with the new year here, rules for tobacco in the state have now been fundamentally altered.
The biggest and most obvious change is the age at which a person can legally purchase tobacco and tobacco products. Now, the only people who can buy tobacco are adults 21 years and older.
Additionally, the state has reportedly implemented a few other changes related to tobacco. These include the following:
- Pharmacies in the state are no longer allowed to sell tobacco products.
- E-cigarettes are now officially banned in all locations where there are already bans on other forms of smoking.
- It is now illegal to use tobacco, tobacco products, or e-cigarettes on the grounds of any public or private school. This includes elementary, secondary, and vocational schools throughout Massachusetts.
The rollout of these new laws marks the final step in a longer legislative process. For example, changes to the state’s tobacco laws were first initiated last year.
To begin with, state lawmakers in mid-2018 passed a resolution changing the state’s age limits for tobacco. More specifically, they approved changing the legal age for tobacco to 21 years old.
Further, they stipulated that local governments are not allowed to raise the legal age limit on tobacco to anything above 21 years old.
Then, the proposition moved to the governor’s office. And on July 27, 2018 Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker formally signed the bill into law.
At the time it was signed, the law had an effective start date of December 31, 2018. Now that the date has arrived, all changes are in full effect.
New Tobacco Laws Align With Other Laws
As a result of the new law’s recent launch, Massachusetts is now the sixth state to changes its age limits for purchasing tobacco. So far, California, New Jersey, Maine, Oregon, Hawaii, and Oregon have rolled out similar changes.
Additionally, Washington D.C. has also instituted changes to the age limit on tobacco and tobacco products.
Interestingly, the new changes also bring the state’s tobacco laws into closer alignment with its cannabis laws.
In 2016, voters approved a bill to legalize recreational marijuana. Under the new cannabis laws, adults 21 and older are allowed to purchase and consume marijuana.
Despite being legalized back in 2016, it wasn’t until more recently that recreational dispensaries actually opened their doors. Legal retail of recreational weed officially kicked off on November 20, 2018.
There are currently two dispensaries that are fully up and running in the state. And so far, they’ve seen significant action. For example, it took only five days for the dispensaries to rack up more than $2 million in combined recreational marijuana sales.
With the state’s first two dispensaries off to a strong start, Massachusetts is slated to see a few more dispensaries open shop in the coming months. To date, regulators have approved new dispensaries in at least three other cities.