Understanding State and Local Laws

Medical cannabis laws vary from state to state, and in some cases, may vary from city to city or county to county. In states that allow patient cultivation, patients can select a caregiver to provide medical cannabis as well as accessing medical cannabis distribution centers. In states that do not allow patient cultivation, state-regulated distribution is the only legal sources of cannabis. And sometimes, individuals choose to break outdated laws in states that do not account for medical use or safe access. No matter what state you are living in, medical cannabis patients and their providers are always violating federal law. The map below outlines laws and regulations for providing medical cannabis in each state.

Authorized medical cannabis distribution may be regulated by state laws, local ordinances, or other regulations. You will have to determine what jurisdiction governs the place where you want to provide or cultivate medicine, and then figure out what laws apply to you. Most cities and counties have free publications and online resources for new businesses. Use these to find out if you need a zoning permit, business license, tax certificate, fire department clearance, or any one of several local requirements. Be careful to obey all state and local business regulations. Medical cannabis providers have enough to deal with without extra trouble for breaking simple business laws!

Some jurisdictions have bans or moratoria (temporary bans) blocking the establishment of medical cannabis dispensaries. You may also encounter a 'de facto ban' - a situation in which the jurisdiction has no written policy prohibiting medical cannabis businesses, but blocks their establishment by denying business licenses, police intimidation, or other tactics. If this is the case in your community, you will need to invest some time and money up front advocating for a change in local policy. ASA can help you be an effective advocate. Use tools like the ASA Policy Shop, Training Center, and other resources to help you change your local law or policy. Contact ASA at info@safeaccessnow.org or at (510) 251-1856 for help.

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In This Section

Alaska Producer & Provider Info

Every state has varying laws and regulations for caregivers, cultivators and medical cannabis providers. This section includes an overview of state requirements and links to necessary forms and applications.

California Caregiver, Producer & Provider Info

A primary caregiver must be at least 18 years old and should consistently assume responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of a patient. They can be the primary caregiver of more than one patient only if the patients live in the same city or county as the primary caregiver.

Colorado Caregiver, Producer & Provider Info

Online registration is now available . Under this new medical marijuana registry system, patients can apply for a card, submit forms, submit payment via credit card, and update personal data online. Physicians can also submit their physician certifications online. Visit https://medicalmarijuana.colorado.gov/ for more information.

DC Caregiver, Producer & Provider Info

Patients are allowed to designate one person to be their “designated caregiver” to assist them with their medical cannabis therapy. Caregivers are selected when the patients fills out and submits their registration application to DOH.

Delaware Producer & Provider Info

Patients may designate a caregiver to assist with acquiring, and using medical cannabis. A “designated caregiver” must be 21, has not been convicted of certain felony offenses; and may assists no more than 5 patients.

Becoming a Caregiver, Producer, or Provider in Illinois

Patients may select a designated caregiver to assist with the patient’s use of medical cannabis. Patients under the age of 18 may have two designated caregivers, if both are parents or legal guardians with significant decision-making responsibility for the patient.

Becoming a Caregiver, Producer, or Provider in Maine

Patients may designate a primary caregiver to assist the patient with medical use of marijuana and cultivation of marijuana, and Maine has a licensed system of medical cannabis dispensaries.

Becoming a Caregiver, Producer or Provider in Massachusetts

Massachusetts’ medical marijuana laws protect patients and their designated caregivers. Designated caregivers are allowed to possess and obtain marijuana for the patient in their care, so long as they possess no more than sixty-day supply or medicine, define by rulemaking as up to ten (10) ounces of usable cannabis.

Becoming a Caregiver, Producer, or Provider in Michigan

Primary caregivers may cultivate marihuana for qualifying patients and patients may grow medicine for themselves. A person can be a caregiver for up to five patients. Caregivers can also receive compensation for the costs of their services.

Becoming a Producer or Provider in Montana

Montana has all but disbanded both the caregiver program and distribution programs and replaced them with the Provider/Marijuana Infused Products Provider (MIPP) program. Provider/MIPP fees are $50 and will not be refunded if the if the application is incomplete, denied or the card is revoked.

Becoming a Caregiver, Producer, or Provider in New Hampshire

A patient may designate a single caregiver to assist with obtaining and using medical marijuana. A designated caregiver must be at least twenty-one (21) years old and cannot have a prior felony conviction.

Becoming a Caregiver, Producer, or Provider New Jersey

New Jersey's medical cannabis laws protect patients and their primary caregivers from prosecution for cannabis law violations. By state law, a designated caregiver is allowed to possess, obtain, and provide cannabis for the patient. The caregiver is not allowed to use this cannabis for his or her personal use, nor provide this medicine to unqualified patients.

Becoming a Caregiver, Producer, or Provider in New Mexico

Caregivers are allowed to assist patients with growing their medicine as long as they follow the terms specified in the patient's application for a production license. The production and distribution of medical cannabis is provided by Licensed Non-Profit Producers (LNPP) throughout the state.

Becoming a Caregiver, Producer, or Provider in Rhode Island

You may designate a primary caregiver to assist you with cultivating and using medical marijuana. Your primary caregiver must be at least twenty-one (21) years old and cannot have a felony drug conviction.

Becoming a Caregiver, Producer, or Provider in Vermont

A caregiver must apply with the state and obtain a registry ID card. A patient may only have one caregiver at a time and a person can only be a caregiver for one patient at a time.