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 Medical Use of Marijuana Program is begin managed by the Health and Human Services Department. Patients and doctors who wish to become part of the program must register with the department. Recreational 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.
Here we will look at the medical marijuana laws in MA, how to get into the program and all the other bits and pieces you’d like to know.
Who qualifies for the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program?
To gain access to medical cannabis, patients must have one or two debilitating conditions as listed below.
- Hepatitis C
- Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Any other debilitating conditions as determined in writing by a qualified patient’s certifying physician
Can the list of qualifying conditions be added to?
Yes, but it is 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 marijuana 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 of MA allows 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 we have some of the dispensaries in Massachusetts.
What can I get from a MA dispensary?
You are allowed to possess up to 10 ounces in Massachusetts. Medical marijuana is available in flower form, extracts and even topical solutions.
Where can I smoke?
You are only allowed to smoke medical cannabis on private property.
Are patients and caregivers protected from discrimination?
Qualifying patients cannot be prosecuted under MA law for using medical marijuana or possessing a 60 day (10 ounces) or less supply of medical marijuana.Employers may legally prohibit employees from working under he 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 the use of medical marijuana.
The future of the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program:
Only about 5 of the allowed 35 dispensaries have opened, so more dispensaries will be coming to MA shortly. Patients who are a part of the program re 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