Massachusetts was one of the first 13 colonies of the United States and one of the first 10 states to legalize recreational marijuana. But it also maintains a robust medical marijuana program overseen by the state's Cannabis Control Commission.
Some 60,000 patients, 7,000 caregivers, and nearly 300 registered healthcare providers are now reportedly part of the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Program, which registers qualifying patients, personal caregivers and Registered Marijuana Dispensaries (RMD).
The program was established by Chapter 369 of the Acts of 2012, “An Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana,” following the passage of Ballot Question 3 in the 2012 general election. The MMJ Program is run by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC). A Program ID Card is required to be considered in possession of marijuana for medical use.
Massachusetts Qualifying Conditions
A Massachusetts resident at least 18 years old who has been diagnosed as having a debilitating medical condition may become a qualifying patient. The diagnosis needs to come from a certifying physician. Residents younger than 18 may qualify under limited circumstances. Qualifying conditions to become a medical marijuana patient in Massachusetts for medical marijuana include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease
- Crohn's disease
- Hepatitis C
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson's disease
- Other debilitating conditions determined by a qualifying patient's certifying physician
Applying for Medical Marijuana in Massachusetts
Registration and renewal can be done online or by mail. A plastic identification card will be mailed in one (1) to two (2) weeks after an application is approved. Patients can register online through the Virtual Gateway. Users can log in, enter a username and password, then select the Medical Use of Marijuana System. Registration by mail is available by calling the program at (617) 660-5370.
Before registering, medical marijuana patients must be certified by a qualified health-care provider, who can provide a PIN number to register. Massachusetts recognizes medical doctors (MDs), osteopathic physicians (DOs), and certified nurse practitioners (CNPs), who are licensed and have an established medical practice in Massachusetts as qualified to recommend medical marijuana. Government-issued photo identification is required. The registration fee is $50.
How to Appoint a Caregiver
Registered patients have the option of designating a personal caregiver to assist with obtaining and administering medical marijuana. Up to two (2) personal caregivers who are not currently designated by another patient are permitted, unless the personal caregiver is an immediate family member. Personal caregivers can register online and follow step-by-step instructions on how to register as a caregiver.
Finding Medical Marijuana
Find Massachusetts medical marijuana dispensaries and qualifying physicians on Weedmaps. Also, the CCC maintains a list of approved dispensaries throughout Massachusetts. State law allows qualifying patients to possess up to a 60-day supply of marijuana for personal medical use. Regulations define a 14-day supply as two-and-a-half ounces (2.5 oz.), or 70.87 grams; and a 60-day supply as up to 10 ounces, or 283.5 grams.
Rules for Patients Visiting from Out-of-State
Massachusetts law does not allow full reciprocity for visiting medical marijuana patients. Only registered patients who are Massachusetts residents can legally visit dispensaries to purchase medical marijuana. However, state law adds a reciprocity clause that allows patients from other states to possess medical marijuana while they're in Massachusetts. Individuals 21 and older can purchase adult-use cannabis at recreational dispensaries throughout the state.