Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program
Massachusetts became the 18th state to legalize medical marijuana when voters passed a ballot in 2012. The law went into effect in January of 2013. The Massachusetts Health and Human Services Department is in charge of the Medical Use of Marijuana Program. The Health and Human Services Dept. will be who doctors and patients register to when becoming a part of the program. Non-medical marijuana remains illegal in MA, but residents with medical marijuana cards are allowed to cultivate their marijuana at home. MA patients may possess up to 10 ounces every two months. As of June 30, 2016, there were 27,212 active patients in the program.
We go into detail about the medical marijuana laws in Massachusetts and how you can go about getting a Massachusetts medical marijuana card.
Who qualifies for the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program?
To get access to medical marijuana in MA, you’re going to need to have a seriously debilitating condition. The list of qualifying conditions includes:
- Hepatitis C
- Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Any other debilitating conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s certifying physician.
Can the list of qualifying conditions be added to?
It’s up to the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human services to add to the list of conditions that are eligible for medical marijuana.
How do you get a medical card?
First, you’ll need to make an appointment with one of the 155 MA physicians registered with the program. They will need to provide you with a certification diagnosing you with a debilitating medical condition. Then you will register with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program online or by paper registration. Before registering you will need a valid ID, current photo of yourself, and a form of payment for the $50 registration fee. Fees can be reduced or waived for patients with proof of financial hardship. You will also need to provide proof of Massachusetts residency.
Where can I find a dispensary in Massachusetts?
The state allows for 35 state-licensed non-profit dispensaries to be operational at a time.Attorney General Martha M. Coakley ruled that cities and towns cannot ban dispensaries, they can only regulate them. Here is a list of all the dispensary applications so you can find which ones are approved to sell and which are soon to come.
What can my medical card get me at an MA dispensary?
You are allowed to possess up to 10 ounces in Massachusetts so you can walk out of your dispensary with a right amount of weight. There are also edibles, extracts and even topical solutions available to you in MA dispensaries.
Where can you smoke your medical marijuana?
You can only smoke medical marijuana on private property in MA.
Are patients and caregivers shielded from discrimination?
Qualifying patients cannot be punished under MA law for using medical marijuana or possessing a 60 day (10 ounces according to MA law) or less supply of medical marijuana. Employers may legally prohibit employees from working under the influence. So far the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Law and regulations do not shield employees from pre-employment drug-testing and courts have upheld the employer’s right to terminate current employees who test positive for use of medical marijuana.
What is the future of the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program?
Only about 5 of the states allowed 35 dispensaries have opened so more dispensaries will be coming to MA shortly. Patients who are a part of the program are currently not protected from job discrimination and termination. It’s possible that the Massachusetts anti-discrimination laws will require employers to tolerate their employees use of medical marijuana, this has yet to be the case, and MA medical marijuana patients await a change in the laws governing employer drug testing and drug use policies.