Medical and recreational marijuana are both legal in Massachusetts, but there are specific rules surrounding the amount of possession for each type of use. In today’s blog, we will go more specifically into who qualifies for Massachusetts’ medical marijuana program and how to apply.
Who Is Eligible for Massachusetts’ Medical Marijuana Program?
In November of 2012, voters made Massachusetts the 18th state in the country to allow medical marijuana use. Under the medicinal marijuana statute, which went into effect in 2013, qualifying patients 18 years or older with certain debilitating medical conditions can possess and use marijuana if they have a physician certification. Note that recreational marijuana is also legal in the state for adults 21 years or older, but those who seek medical amounts must abide by the medical marijuana laws.
The amount of medical marijuana a patient may purchase in Massachusetts is limited to a 60-day supply of up to 10 ounces from a dispensary with each prescription. Patients may be able to purchase more if their doctor deems it necessary for their medical condition.
A physician certification signed by a doctor who believes the benefits of using marijuana for the applicant must state the debilitating condition, which could include any of the following:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn's disease
- Hepatitis C
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson's disease
- Other debilitating conditions as determined in writing by your doctor
Be aware that Massachusetts' medicinal marijuana law doesn't allow just any physician to sign off the document. Patients must have a "bona fide physician-patient relationship,” where doctors acting in the regular course of their practice must have complete clinical visits with their patient. The doctor must:
- complete and document an assessment of the patient's current medical conditions and medical history;
- explain the risks and benefits of marijuana use; and
- play a role in the patient's treatment and ongoing care.
Note that these certifications will generally cost around $200, though it will depend on the physician.
How to Apply
Once patients obtain their certification, they will need to register with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program to receive an ID card authorizing them to possess medical marijuana. The registration fee is $50, but financial assistance is available in special circumstances. Note that once approved, patients must carry their Program ID Card and a state-issued photo ID with them at all times in order to possess or purchase medical marijuana legally.
Applicants will need to gather the following documents:
- their PIN, as provided to them by their health care provider and emailed to them by the program after they are certified;
- a valid form of identification;
- a current photograph of themself; and
- a form of payment or proof of verified financial hardship (payable via credit or debit card or electronic funds transfer).
A valid form of identification could be a Massachusetts driver's license, a Massachusetts ID card (with a photograph), a U.S. passport and another document that proves their Massachusetts residency, or a U.S. military ID and another document that proves their Massachusetts state residency.
Note that while medical and recreational cannabis are both legal in Massachusetts, it is still illegal to consume in public, such as public transportation, parks, schools, sidewalks, so legal cannabis consumption is limited to private residences only.
Be aware that program ID cards are issued every 3 years, though individuals are required to renew their registration with the program every year in order to remain active, and there is a $10 fee to replace a lost or stolen ID card.
Questions? Contact Brad Bailey Law.
If you have questions about your eligibility for medical marijuana in Massachusetts or about a wrongful charge of possession while you are legally allowed to use cannabis medically, speak to an experienced attorney immediately for legal support. At Brad Bailey Law, our legal team can examine the facts of your situation and provide you the legal guidance you need in your medical marijuana case, whether you have concerns about qualifying conditions or physician certificates.
Contact Brad Bailey Law for more information today.