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Becoming a Patient in Massachusetts
Your physician begins the process of registering you in the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Online System (MMJ Online System) by certifying that you have a debilitating medical condition listed above. That certification takes place online with the Department of Public Health ("The Department") and includes providing your name, e-mail address, mailing address, and phone number. Patients must then register with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program (the "Program"). After being certified, patients will receive an email from the Massachusetts Department of Health (DPH) with (1) a patient PIN number and (2) instructions on how to register with the Program. Patients may either register online or by paper. If registering by paper, patients must call the Program at (617) 660-5370 to request a paper registration form.
Before registering as a patient, you must provide:
- Your patient PIN number,
- a current valid form of identification (ID),
- a current photograph of yourself, and
- a $50 registration fee, or a proof of verified financial hardship.
For more registration information, please see the Massachusetts Department of Public Health "Patient Guidance" form.
For more information regarding the Medical Use of Marijuana Program's Fee Structure.
Once your doctor has provided certification to the Department that you have a qualifying debilitating medical condition that may benefit from medical marijuana, you will be able to complete your registration with the state.
You will be asked to submit the following to the Department:
- Your Massachusetts Department of Health Patient PIN number,
- a current valid form of Massachusetts ID (or U.S. Passport/Military ID with proof of Massachusetts Residency),
- a current passport-size photograph of yourself, and
- a $50 registration fee (checks/money orders should be made payable to "The Commonwealth of Massachusetts") or proof of financial hardship. For financial hardship, you must provide one of the following as proof:
- Official MassHealth acceptance letter for the current year, or official MassHealth redetermination letter for the current year,
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) statement for the current year,
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit verification for the current year, or
- State or Federal Tax return for this or last year, including all of the attachments.
Your physician can also indicate if you need a caregiver to assist you with administering or obtaining your medicine. If so, you must register a qualified caregiver for the Department to issue you a registration certificate. Once you have a recommendation from your physician and everything listed above, you can begin the registration process which can be found on the Department's website. It can be completed entirely online or mailed in.
To become a qualifying patient under Massachusetts law, a patient must have written certification from a licensed physician as having a debilitating medical condition. A "debilitating medical condition" means any of the following:
- Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn's disease
- Parkinson's disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Or other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient's physician
Becoming a Patient as a Minor:
If you are under the age of 18 but want to become a patient in Massachusetts, you must seek a recommendation from two doctors one of which is a board certified pediatrician or pediatric specialist.
Benefits of Being a Patient:
Registered patients in Massachusetts get access to the medical dispensaries across Massachusetts. Patients are legally protected from discrimination for cannabis use in child custody hearings. Patients are also protected where organ transplants may be denied for recreational cannabis users.
Becoming a Caregiver:
To obtain a registration card for a personal caregiver, a qualifying patient shall submit, in a form and manner determined by the Department, the following:
- The personal caregiver's full name, date of birth, address, telephone number, and email address if any, and a statement that the individual is at least 21 years of age;
- Full name, date of birth, and address of the qualifying patient for whom the personal caregiver will be providing assistance with the use of marijuana for medical purposes;
- A copy of the personal caregiver's driver's license, government-issued identification card, or other verifiable identity document acceptable to the Department;
- A statement of whether the caregiver will be cultivating marijuana for the patient, and at what address, if the patient is granted a hardship cultivation registration;
- Written acknowledgement by the personal caregiver of the limitations on his or her authorization to cultivate, possess, and dispense to his or her registered qualifying patient, marijuana for medical purposes in the Commonwealth;
- An attestation by the personal caregiver that he or she will not engage in the diversion of marijuana and that he or she understands that protections conferred by the Act for possession of marijuana for medical use are applicable only within Massachusetts; and
- Any other information required by the Department.
An individual must be granted a registration card by the Department prior to serving as a personal caregiver for any registered qualifying patient.
Except in the case of an employee of a hospice provider, nursing facility, or medical facility providing care to a qualifying patient admitted to or residing at that facility, or a visiting nurse, home health aide, personal care attendant, or immediate family member of more than one registered qualifying patient, an individual may not serve as a personal caregiver for more than one registered qualifying patient at one time.
A registered qualifying patient may designate up to two personal caregivers. If the registered qualifying patient has been granted a hardship cultivation registration, the personal caregiver(s) may cultivate marijuana on behalf of the registered qualifying patient at only one location. Cultivation pursuant to a hardship cultivation registration by a personal caregiver constitutes consent for such inspection of the cultivation site.
A registered qualifying patient may add a second caregiver or change personal caregiver(s) by providing notification in a form and manner determined by the Department, and providing the information required in 105 CMR 725.020(A) for registration of personal caregivers.
A personal caregiver may not receive payment or other compensation for services rendered as a personal caregiver other than reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred in the provision of services as a caregiver, provided however that a caregiver's time is not considered a reasonable expense. In the case of an employee of a hospice provider, nursing facility, or medical facility, or a visiting nurse, personal care attendant, or home health aide serving as a personal caregiver, such person may not receive payment or compensation above and beyond his or her regular wages.
After obtaining a registration card, the personal caregiver is responsible for notifying the Department, in a form and manner determined by the Department, within five business days after any change to the information that his or her registered qualifying patient was previously required to submit to the Department, or after the personal caregiver discovers that his or her registration card has been lost or stolen.
A personal caregiver must carry his or her registration card at all times while in possession of marijuana.
Out of State Patients:
The state of Massachusetts does not recognize out of state patient IDs. For more information about traveling as a medical cannabis patient, check out our Travel Guide.
Any individual who is at least 21 years of age may grow up to six plants in any stage of maturity at home. If there are two adults in the household, you may grow up to twelve mature plants; three or more adults does not raise the limit further.