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How to get a medical card in Massachusetts

If you’ve been wondering how to get a Massachusetts medical marijuana card, you’ll be glad to know that it’s easier than you might think. It’s normal to have questions about becoming a medical marijuana patient, but once you understand the rules, the process is quite simple. 

The great news is, once you’ve obtained your identification card, you can visit any medical dispensary in the state and enjoy a wide variety of cannabis products. If you’re ready to learn the ins and outs of obtaining a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts, you’re in the right place. So read on and we’ll clue you in about all the details. 

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Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Laws & Regulations 

Before learning how to get a MMJ card in Massachusetts, it’s important to understand the basic rules of the state’s Medical Use of Marijuana program. But first, we’ll give you a brief overview of the legal history of “medical marijuana” in the state of Massachusetts.  

Back in 1911, Massachusetts became the first state in the U.S. to restrict cannabis use on a state level. Nearly a century later, in 2008, voters passed a law decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of cannabis. [Source] 

In 2012, Massachusetts became the 18th state in the union to legalize medical marijuana. In 2016, residents voted to make recreational use legal for adults 21 and over. After some legal delays, the first retail recreational cannabis dispensaries opened on November 20th, 2018. [source] 

Today, anyone who has a Massachusetts medical marijuana card can purchase a 60-day supply of medical cannabis (up to a maximum of 10 ounces) from any Massachusetts  medical marijuana dispensary[Source] 

The rules also allow designated caregivers to transport medical cannabis from licensed grow sites or dispensaries to registered patients. Registered patients can also choose to use a medical marijuana delivery service. [Source] 

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Massachusetts 

Getting a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts is a fairly simple process. First, you’ll need to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. This includes having a qualifying medical condition and being able to prove that you’re a Massachusetts resident. 

You’ll also need to receive a recommendation from a qualified medical professional who is part of the state’s Medical Use Marijuana Program. To qualify for a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts, you generally must be at least 18 years old. In some cases, a minor can get a medical marijuana card. However, they’ll need an adult caregiver and a medical certification from two physicians. [Source] 

Once you’ve met the requirements, you can start the process of applying for a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts. [Source] 

How to Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in MA 

After a licensed physician certifies your medical condition, you’ll receive an email from the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) of Massachusetts. This will contain both your PIN number and instructions explaining how to register with the state. 

Registering online is the easiest and most convenient way to get your medical marijuana card in Massachusetts. If you’re unable to register online, you can also request a paper application. However, this may make the process much longer. 

Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you’ll receive an email from the CCC. You can immediately log into your MassCIP portal, print a temporary ID, and head out to the nearest medical marijuana dispensary. Within two weeks after your approval date, you’ll receive your permanent card in the mail. [Source] 

What Documents Are Required? 

When applying for a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts, it’s important to have all your documentation ready. You’ll need the following items: 

  1. A valid ID– This may include your Massachusetts driver’s license, ID card, or a U.S. passport or military ID 
  2. Proof of residency– If you provide a state driver’s license or ID, you can skip this step. However, if you use a passport or military ID, you’ll need to prove that you’re a resident of Massachusetts. You can find the list of acceptable documents on the CCC Patient Guidance document. 
  3. A photo for your ID card– If you register online, you can either use your RMV photo or provide a different photo of yourself, as long as it meets the requirements. 

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How Long Does It Take to Get a Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Card? 

After learning how to get a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts, the most common question is: “How long does it take?” Luckily, it’s a fairly quick process. Once you’ve registered online, you can typically get approved in about 10 days. 

How Much Does the Medical Marijuana ID Card Cost? 

When applying for your medical marijuana card in Massachusetts, there are two separate costs to consider. First, you’ll need to pay your certifying physician. Most medical patients will pay a fee of $195 for this service. 

You’ll also need to pay the Massachusetts state registration fee of $50. However, if you have verified proof of hardship, you may qualify for a discount or waiver. 

Qualifying Debilitating Medical Conditions 

People across the country have been using medical marijuana to relieve symptoms caused by a variety of debilitating medical conditions. In the state of Massachusetts, only patients with a qualifying debilitating condition can apply for a medical marijuana card. 

Currently, the list of qualifying conditions includes: 

  • Cancer 
  • HIV/AIDS 
  • Glaucoma 
  • Hepatitis C 
  • Parkinson’s disease 
  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Crohn’s disease 
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) 

Your certificating physician can also diagnose you with other debilitating conditions. Some examples include PTSD, chronic muscle spasms, endometriosis, and degenerative arthritis. [Source] 

Can I Go to a Dispensary Without a Card in Massachusetts? 

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, you do not need a medical marijuana card to visit a dispensary that sells cannabis for recreational use. As long as you are 21 years of age or older, you won’t have any issues. However, you will need to show proof of age. 

If you’re under 21 and have a medical card, you can only go to dispensaries that sell medical marijuana or both medical and recreational. In this case, you’ll need to show your card before you enter. You’ll also need to show a medical card to visit a dispensary that only sells medical marijuana. 

Where Can I Legally Buy Marijuana in Massachusetts? 

To purchase medical marijuana in Massachusetts, you’ll need to visit a dispensary that is specifically licensed for medical sales or for both medical and recreational sales. Medical marijuana patients have access to different products and can sometimes get more potent products than recreational users. Medical marijuana is also tax-free, while recreational users may pay a total tax of 20% or more. 

Some dispensaries only sell recreational marijuana while others sell only medical or sell both. If you’re over 21, you can legally purchase recreational marijuana at any licensed recreational dispensary in the state of Massachusetts. 

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Frequently Asked Questions 

While learning how to get medical marijuana in Massachusetts is an important first step, new patients often have many other questions. Here are the answers to some of the questions our staff hears most often. 

How easy is it to get a medical cannabis card in Massachusetts? 

If you’re a Massachusetts resident and you have a qualifying condition, it’s not hard to get a medical cannabis card. Simply follow the steps outlined above and you can have your card in just a few weeks. 

Can you smoke in public in Massachusetts? 

Consumption of cannabis in public is not legal in the state of Massachusetts. It’s also illegal to smoke marijuana anywhere that smoking tobacco is prohibited. Breaking these rules can result in a civil penalty of up to a $100 fine. 

Does Massachusetts take out-of-state medical cards? 

Some states allow “reciprocity” for medical cannabis patients. This means that if you get a medical marijuana card in your state, they’ll accept it as if it were their own.  

Unfortunately, Massachusetts does not accept out-of-state medical cards. However, residents of any state can purchase recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, as long as they’re at least 21 years old and have a valid ID. [Source] 

Who are medical cannabis caregivers? 

Massachusetts law allows patient caregivers to register for an identification card. To qualify, a personal caregiver must be a resident of the state of Massachusetts and at least 21 years of age. 

 A caregiver can only assist one qualifying patient at a time. An exception from this is the case when a caregiver has multiple family members that need their assistance (for example a parent and a sibling that both are medical marijuana patients). A registered caregiver must also be someone other than the patient’s certifying physician. 

Can I get fired for having a medical card in Massachusetts? 

Living in states where marijuana is legal doesn’t necessarily mean your employer automatically has to allow marijuana use. In the state of Massachusetts the employer is required to accommodate off-site, off-duty use if he has 6 or more employees. [Source] 

In 2017, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled a case when an employee was fired for testing positive in a marijuana test a disability discrimination. As the court said: “The use and possession of medically prescribed marijuana by a qualifying patient is as lawful as the use and possession of any other prescribed medication.” [Source] 

That said, it’s important to note that employers do not have to accommodate on-site use of marijuana and enforce restrictions on recreational use of employees. 

How Can I Join the RISE Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Community? 

We would love to welcome you to the RISE Massachusetts family! Now that you know how to get medical marijuana in Massachusetts, you’re closer to enjoying all the well-being benefits of cannabis. Once you’ve completed the steps above and received your medical card, you’re welcome to visit our RISE Massachusetts dispensaries. 

In the meantime, if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to talk to one of our knowledgeable patient care specialists. We’re here to help! 

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