Updated on December 6, 2018.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Medical marijuana continues to develop in the state of Massachusetts. With the recent vote to legalize even non-medical use of marijuana, the rules are changing quickly, and access will increase soon. Certified medical marijuana patients could already obtain the doctor-recommended cannabis products they required at licensed dispensaries. Now, that life-changing cannabis treatment could be delivered to their doors.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana Deliveries
Some of the most severely sick patients were the first to receive relief from medical marijuana treatment. Those who are terminal or in extreme pain due to a diagnosed illness were the first to qualify for medical marijuana. Cannabis’ ability to relieve pain that was not affected by other medications was recognized early.
Unfortunately, the right to use marijuana is sometimes separate from the ability. Patients who suffer extreme pain or frequent seizures cannot always get to the dispensary to pick up their cannabis. Their mobility is often limited, and some even become house-bound.
Medical marijuana delivery can increase access to this life-changing treatment for those in the most severe need of it. Bringing pain relief in the form of cannabis directly to their door means people who previously could not get this medication are now included. Marijuana delivery will improve the quality of life for patients who did not have access to medical cannabis before.
The deliveries can also cut down on transportation issues. While medical marijuana is legal in Massachusetts for qualified patients, it is still on the FDA Schedule I banned substance list. Federal law prohibits the possession or use of cannabis for any purpose.
Some medical marijuana patients struggle with the conflicting laws in bringing their weed home for use. Even with a marijuana card issued by the state, patients with cannabis in their cars or on their person in public are violating federal law and could be subject to arrest.
As the marijuana laws in Massachusetts develop and possibly influence a change in federal law, marijuana deliveries mitigate some risk for these patients. The state-licensed dispensary manages the burden of risk in transporting marijuana, and the patient reaps the health benefits of use.
Medical marijuana delivery in Massachusetts will improve access to cannabis for all patients who need it.
How Medical Marijuana Deliveries Work
The newest dispensary approved for medical marijuana deliveries in Massachusetts spent months working with the Department of Public Health for the privilege to serve this market. Security protocols were developed to be sure medical marijuana could be delivered safely to certified patients.
In the big picture, it is probably safer to have one entity transporting marijuana around the state than to have individual patients driving home with their stash every week or every month. Delivery drivers will use the buddy system as a form of check and balances. Medical marijuana delivery trucks are also under video surveillance and tracked by GPS systems.
Placing a medical cannabis delivery order involves presenting your medical marijuana card for verification before your order can be filled. A valid photo ID is also used to be sure cannabis is only being delivered to certified marijuana patients.
The initial delivery order may take some time to set up, but for those who cannot get their medical marijuana any other way, it is worth the effort. The dispensary maintains delivery information on file so repeat orders can go smoothly.
Where Is Medical Marijuana Delivery Available?
So far, there are just two dispensaries approved for marijuana deliveries in Massachusetts, but the second one delivers all over the state. In some parts of the Boston area, medical marijuana patients have two choices for dispensaries that deliver. Every place else in the state of Massachusetts, except in Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, patients have at least one option for getting medical marijuana delivered to their door.
The dispensary regulates its own delivery system based on state cannabis rules. The dispensary has a duty to confirm the registration of medical marijuana patients it serves. Dispensaries may also impose their own rules and delivery charges.
The demand for medical marijuana will continue to increase as access becomes easier. Massachusetts marijuana regulations are changing, and the competition for delivery areas is likely to grow. Increased competition could reduce delivery charges, but for now, access is available.
Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in MA
Under the current medical marijuana regulations in Massachusetts, there are 10 cannabis dispensaries serving medical marijuana patients around the state. These dispensaries went through a multi-step licensing process with the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC). Only non-profit corporations were invited to apply for these licenses.
The registered marijuana dispensary process (RMD) in Massachusetts begins with an application of intent and a $1,500 application fee. The initial application demonstrates the non-profit status of the company and its financial standings, among other details.
Following review by the CCC, the applicant may be invited to submit a management and operations profile and a siting profile. While the initial applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and no quotas are set for the number of dispensary license the state will issue, priority is given to siting profiles for open counties.
The RMD process in Massachusetts costs $31,500 just in applications fees. Additional expenses may be incurred for legal services and other professional guidance. It can take several months for a dispensary to get their license if they qualify.
Who Can Benefit From Medical Cannabis Delivery?
Medical marijuana is approved in Massachusetts to treat a rather short list of conditions, including:
A patient may also qualify for medical cannabis treatment with a written note from a certified physician attesting to another debilitating condition. The amount of marijuana a doctor can recommend for a qualified patient is currently limited to 10 ounces every 60 days, although the doctor can recommend less.
Massachusetts placed strict limits on growing your own marijuana at home for medical use. The regulations are written to discourage home cultivation, which can be hard to monitor. The state seems to prefer secured delivery over letting people keep marijuana plants at home.
Limited licenses are issued for hardship cultivation, the need for a medical marijuana patient to grow their own cannabis because they can’t afford to buy it from a licensed dispensary. One of the stipulations for hardship cultivation is that there is no dispensary within a reasonable distance from the patient’s home.
Medical cannabis delivery covering the entire state eliminates the need for a hardship license because of distance from the dispensary. Unless a medical marijuana patient lives on Martha’s Vineyard or in Nantucket, they can get access to the cannabis treatment they need.
Medical marijuana deliveries in Massachusetts improve access to this important treatment for many people who suffer debilitating diseases. MarijuanaDoctors.com keeps you up to date on the latest changes to Massachusetts marijuana law. If you thought you would not qualify for medical marijuana or did not have access to a dispensary before, now is the time to learn more. Start with our doctor search services to connect with a qualified marijuana doctor who could certify you as a marijuana patient.