Updated on November 19, 2021. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Massachusetts has legalized both medical cannabis and adult use. The state ended prohibition and has one of the largest annual support events for cannabis legalization. The Boston Freedom Rally is held annually in September.
Massachusetts may become the first state to require health insurance companies to cover patient costs for medical cannabis. A new bill was filed in the House of Representatives by Rep. David LeBoeuf, Sen. Julian Cyr, and Sen. Jason Lewis. The cost of medical marijuana in Massachusetts is high compared to other states. The legislation would make health insurers responsible for the cost of medical cannabis consultations with doctors. And wholly (or partially) compensate patients for medical marijuana supplies and products.
Compared to other states, Massachusetts has fewer qualifying health conditions. A patient must have at least one of the following chronic diseases to be eligible for medical cannabis:
However, in Massachusetts, a Certifying Health Care Provider can also write a recommendation for any other debilitating condition. If you do not have one of the qualifying conditions, you may still be eligible to apply for your Massachusetts medical card.
Like other states that have legalized adult-use cannabis, Massachusetts dispensaries carry the full range of products.
Patients with an MA medical card can visit an adult-use or medical dispensary to purchase:
Patients with a medical card do not pay any tax on cannabis products. However, in 2021, consumers purchasing for adult-use pay a 10.75% marijuana excise tax on top of the state’s 6.25% sales tax. Some communities are also permitted to charge an additional 3% local excise tax. That means recreational cannabis users may pay up to 20% tax on each purchase.
You have to be eighteen (18) years of age or older to get a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts. Patients under the age of eighteen (minors) are required to have a parent or legal guardian designated as a caregiver.
The first step to getting a Massachusetts medical card is to schedule your appointment. A Certifying Health Provider will conduct a health history review and check to make sure cannabis is a safe therapeutic option for you.
After you get your letter of certification, the physician will provide you with a PIN. With that number and some other documentation, you will set up your patient account.
You can register online or by a paper application method. Visit the website for instructions on creating your patient profile and account with the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.
Patients registering with the Massachusetts medical marijuana program currently pay no fee. There is no fee for the annual renewal of the MA medical card, effective October 2019.
Yes. But there are special requirements. A minor (child) under the age of eighteen (18) years must designate a caregiver. That is a legal guardian or parent who will assist the minor by purchasing or administering medical cannabis.
Minors are required to have medical cannabis approved by two Certifying Health Providers. One of the providers must be a pediatric specialist.
If you are a parent or legal guardian of a minor, you can become a designated caregiver for that patient. Adults caring for seniors who are not capable of independent living may also be designated.
In Massachusetts, a “Personal Caregiver” can be designated to support only one patient. However, a patient may have up to two (2) registered caregivers in the medical cannabis program.
Caregivers must not have a criminal record (particularly a prior drug or violent crime). A Personal Caregiver in Massachusetts must be aged twenty-one (21) years or older.
In some cases, a patient may apply for special permission to cultivate medical marijuana at home. Growing cannabis at home in Massachusetts is only an option for patients with a medical card. And the patient must be approved for a “Hardship Cultivation” permit. Caregivers may be authorized to assist with cultivation for qualified patients.
Both patients and designated Personal Caregivers in Massachusetts must register and renew annually. However, this is an administrative process, and there is no fee required.
As of October 2019, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission removed the requirement for registration or renewal fees.
If you lose or damage your Massachusetts medical card, you will need to request a replacement. You may also need to get a new card if you have changed your address or your legal name after divorce, marriage, etc.
If your medical card is lost, you are required to notify the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (MCCC) within five days. There is a $10 replacement fee.
Patients can log into their patient account to request a new card. And pay the replacement fee. You can also request a replacement by mail by sending a letter and making a check for the $10 fee payable to “The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” Your Program ID card will have a new patient identification number.
Your Massachusetts medical card means you pay no tax on cannabis products whether you purchase supplies or cannabis at an adult-use or medical dispensary.
Question 3 was placed on the November 2012 ballot, and voters approved this initiative making medical cannabis legal in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts has a medical cannabis program and has legalized adult use for residents over the age of twenty-one (21). However, not every community in MA has embraced recreational cannabis. As of March 2020, there were more than one hundred (100) cities and towns in Massachusetts that banned recreational cannabis. Some of the jurisdictions also filed a legal moratorium to prevent more dispensaries from opening in their local region. Middlesex County, Massachusetts has the highest number of bans or moratoriums on adult-use cannabis. Followed by Essex, Barnstable County MA, and Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
November, 2008—The Massachusetts Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative is passed. The ballot initiative gained voter support. It reduced the penalty for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana to a fine of $100 without criminal charges.
Prior to the legal reform, a similar offense resulted in a sentence of six months incarceration and a $500 fine. It was estimated that decriminalization of personal-use amounts would save MA over $150 million per year.
Source Web 2021: ballotpedia.org
November, 2016—Question 4 to legalize adult-use cannabis in Massachusetts was put on the ballot on November 8, 2016. The initiative was approved by voters, and cannabis for adults aged twenty-one (21) and older became legal in Massachusetts on December 15, 2016.
Source Web 2021: aclum.org
November, 2018—The first sales of adult-use cannabis in Massachusetts began on November 20, 2018. By October 2020, there were more than 80 dispensaries open, and sales of cannabis exceeded $1 billion.
Source Web 2021: boston.com
Massachusetts Department of Health
101 Federal Street, 13th Floor
Boston, MA 02110
Phone: (617) 660-5370
Website: Medical Use Of Marijuana Program
Website: Cannabis Control Commission
The State of Massachusetts has a legalized medical marijuana program, which allows patients to receive a medical marijuana recommendation from a certified physician, and apply for a state-issued Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Card, permitting the patient to purchase marijuana for medicinal use, as per Massachusetts state guidelines.
Since the Massachusetts medical marijuana program is still changing their laws and new Massachusetts medical marijuana laws are being enacted on a regular basis, please be sure to visit our site frequently to get the most updated laws as it pertains to the Massachusetts medical marijuana program. Please click a corresponding link to find out more about Massachusetts’s Medical Marijuana Program. We have compiled the following Massachusetts medical marijuana index of information to serve as a medical library to our users for legal reference of Massachusetts’s laws, guidelines and program details regarding medical cannabis use in Massachusetts.
Please note: In order to become a legal medical marijuana patient you must first have a qualifying condition as outlined by the department of health services and/or department of justice. For a comprehensive list of Massachusetts’s qualifying medical marijuana conditions, please visit our qualifying conditions section located on the top of our menu under “legal states”.