Updated on January 23, 2020. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
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
NOTE: As of January 1st, 2019, administration and oversight of Massachusetts’ MMJ program has been transferred to the Cannabis Control Commission.
Massachusetts law allows medical marijuana patients to possess a sixty-day supply, defined specifically, as “10 ounces”:
“The Department shall issue a cultivation registration to a qualifying patient whose access to a medical treatment center is limited by verified financial hardship, a physical incapacity to access reasonable transportation or the lack of a treatment center within a reasonable distance of the patient’s residence. The Department may deny a registration based on the provision of false information by the applicant. Such registration shall allow the patient or the patient’s personal caregiver to cultivate a limited number of plants, sufficient to maintain a 60-day supply of marijuana, and shall require cultivation and storage only in an enclosed, locked facility”.
On February 12, 2016, the Patriot Care Corp. was approved by Governor Charlie Baker’s Administration, allowing retails sales of marijuana to registered qualifying patients and personal caregivers. The Massachusetts Patient Registry application fee, is $50. The Massachusetts Marijuana Registry is mandatory. However, it is still illegal in the state of Massachusetts for anyone without a retail license to sell marijuana for recreational use. Retail sales aren’t expected to begin until July 2018. All public consumption of marijuana will continue to be illegal.
On November 06, 2012, 63% of Massachusetts voters approved Ballot Question 3 (effective January 01, 2013).
Ballot Question 3, intends that there should be “no punishment under state law for qualifying patients, physicians, and health care professionals, personal caregivers for patients or medical marijuana treatment center agents for the medical use of marijuana”.
The Department is required to issue registrations for up to thirty-five non-profit medical marijuana treatment centers, provided that at least one treatment center shall be located in each county, with not more than five in any one county, in the first year after the effective date of Ballot Question 3.
On October 08, 2014, the DPH posted a statement on their website, saying that,
“The Medical Use of Marijuana Online System (MMJ Online System) is now available for qualifying patients to register to possess marijuana for medical purposes. You will need to register with the MMJ Online System by January 01, 2015, in order to possess marijuana for medical purposes, even if you already have a paper written certification from your physician. Paper written certification will no longer be valid as of February 01, 2015.”
The Massachusetts Medical Society has also put together a 16-step course for physicians and medical professionals to study the physical and psychological effects of medical marijuana on the body.
In January 2017, proposed changes to the regulations controlling medical marijuana in Massachusetts aimed to make it easier for hospice patients to gain access to medical marijuana. Currently, the process of ordering marijuana from any of the nine licensed dispensaries in the state takes a very long time. Many hospice patients who have less than 50 days to live do not have a chance to gain access to cannabis before they die.
Under the proposed rules, certified nurses would be allowed to sign for a patient who needs to use medical marijuana. The new rules will permit doctors to define a 60-day supply that’s less than 10 ounces. Also, the proposed rules will allow a medical facility like a nursing home to get registered to provide medical marijuana instead of just prescribing it.
In December 2017, the Cannabis Control Commission opened the door for the creation of medical marijuana “microbusinesses” by allowing the sale of marijuana at movie theaters and yoga studios. While regulations about how marijuana will need to be packaged or advertised in these facilities, the legalization of “craft cooperatives” and microbusinesses could expand the marijuana industry in Massachusetts. Craft cooperatives are groups of growers that can band together to obtain one single medical marijuana grower license. These growers will be able to cultivate marijuana in up to six locations and process in up to three locations.
Further, applicants who want to start marijuana businesses will now be required to submit a “diversity plan” where they outline the steps they will take to promote gender and racial equality. This includes but is not limited to promoting equitable employment opportunities for women, minorities, veterans, and more.
As of November 2019, patients no longer have to pay annual registration or renewal fees for medical cannabis. Patients will have to pay $10 fee if a replacement card is needed. https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/marijuana/2019/10/22/starting-november-medical-marijuana-patients-mass-will-longer-have-pay-annual-fees/9aMyhqhqSQDtuEWRbjBqkN/story.html
Qualified patients in Massachusetts may choose to see a marijuana doctor online instead of in-person, using the telemedicine portal, provided that a medical marijuana telemedicine doctor first established a bonafide relationship with the patient in-person, after which all follow-up visits may be conducted via medical marijuana telemedicine services, online.
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”.