In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a medical marijuana caregiver is someone who assists with registered patients' medical use of cannabis. The person could be a personal attendant, a medical facility's employee (not the patient's certifying physician), or a home health assistant providing care for a medical marijuana patient. Typically, medical marijuana caregivers help marijuana patients obtain and transport marijuana from Marijuana Treatment Centers (MTCs). Besides preparing marijuana for consumption by patients in their care and administering the drugs to them, medical marijuana caregivers may also transport patients to and from MTCs whenever required. They can also cultivate marijuana for patients who have obtained hardship cultivation registrations.
A person cannot serve as a medical marijuana caregiver for more than five medical marijuana patients concurrently in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Per Section 501.850 of 935 CMR, a medical marijuana caregiver who wants to serve more than five cannabis patients must seek a waiver from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. Medical marijuana patients under 18 years of age require caregivers, but it is optional for adult patients with medical marijuana cards. Parents can serve as caregivers for their children who are minors and registered medical cannabis patients.
To become a medical marijuana caregiver in Massachusetts, a person must register with the Commonwealth's Medical Use of Marijuana Program online or via mail using paper forms. To register using paper forms, prospective caregivers can contact the Cannabis Control Commission at (833) 869-6820 to request paper registration forms. The paper forms include instructions on how to submit applications with complete documentation. However, the Commission encourages online applications because they are often easier and faster than mail requests.
To register as a medical caregiver online in Massachusetts, a prospective caregiver can use the Patient and Caregiver Portal provided by the Cannabis Control Commission. However, prospective caregivers need specific four-digit personal identification numbers (PINs) for online registration. Hence, before initiating the registration process, a patient must have designated a person as a caregiver and provided them with a four-digit personal identification number (PIN) generated during their registration.
The prospective caregiver must upload a copy of their valid government-issued ID and a copy of a passport-styled colored photograph to the online portal. The online system has a backend connection with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). Hence, if an applicant submits a Massachusetts driver's license or any valid Commonwealth photo ID as a form of identification, the online system will retrieve the photo maintained by the RMV. In such a case, the applicant may not need to upload a passport photograph during the application.
Prospective medical marijuana caregivers in Massachusetts are not required to pay any fee to register for Medical Use Marijuana Program registration cards. If the Cannabis Control Commission approves an application, the applicant will receive a registration card in the mail in 10 - 15 business days. Per Section 501.025 (1)(b) of the 935 CMR, a medical marijuana caregiver may not receive compensation for services rendered as a caregiver other than payments for reasonable expenses incurred when providing caregiving services.
In Massachusetts, medical marijuana patients designate their caregivers when enrolling in the Medical Use Marijuana Program. However, when choosing a person as a caregiver, a medical marijuana patient must ensure that such an individual lives in the Commonwealth, is at least 21 years of age, and has not been convicted of a drug crime. A cannabis patient may designate up to two medical marijuana caregivers. The Commonwealth does not maintain a database of registered medical marijuana caregivers. Parents or legal guardians of minors, who are medical cannabis patients, often serve as their caregivers.
Medical marijuana caregivers in Massachusetts may obtain and possess 60-day supplies or up to 10 ounces of cannabis or cannabis-infused products at a time on behalf of the patients in their care.
A medical marijuana caregiver in Massachusetts can cultivate marijuana plants for patients in their care, provided they have obtained hardship cultivation registrations. However, cultivation is limited to the number of plants sufficient to maintain a 60-day supply of marijuana for each medical marijuana patient. Caregivers in Massachusetts can only grow marijuana on behalf of their patients in enclosed, locked areas.