Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in Massachusetts

  1. Massachusetts Cannabis
  2. Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Card
  3. Consequences of Having a MMJ Card in Massachusetts

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Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card in Massachusetts

For eligible residents of the Commonwealth, Massachusetts medical marijuana cards confer certain benefits not enjoyed by recreational cannabis users. These benefits include:

Legal Protection

In Massachusetts, medical marijuana cardholders are protected by state laws from arrest and prosecution for purchasing or possessing cannabis products. The Commonwealth also provides immunity from prosecution to individuals with MMJ cards who cultivate cannabis for personal use at home. However, MMJ users must carry their medical marijuana cards with valid government-issued IDs while in possession of cannabis products. The possession of cannabis without a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts by individuals under age 21 may have legal consequences, such as incarceration or payment of fines.

Lower Prices

The prices of medical marijuana products are lower than recreational marijuana in Massachusetts. The difference in prices is because recreational consumers pay various taxes on marijuana purchases, but medical marijuana sales are exempt from taxes. While MMJ cardholders pay the exact cost of cannabis products, recreational consumers pay an additional 10.75% excise tax and a 6.25% sales tax on cannabis purchases. A city or town can also impose a 3% tax on adult-use marijuana sales.

Higher Purchase Limits

Medical marijuana cardholders in Massachusetts can buy and possess higher amounts of cannabis products than recreational consumers. While recreational consumers are allowed up to 1 ounce of recreational weed daily, MMJ cardholders can buy 10 ounces of cannabis products every 60 days.

Higher Cultivation Limits

Massachusetts permits medical and adult-use marijuana consumers to cultivate cannabis plants in their primary residences for personal use. While a medical marijuana cardholder can grow up to 12 flowering and 12 vegetative cannabis plants, a recreational user can grow no more than 6 cannabis plants.

Access for Minors

In Massachusetts, minors with qualifying health conditions can enroll in the Commonwealth’s Medical Use of Marijuana Program and apply for MMJ cards to legally buy and possess cannabis through personal caregivers. However, recreational marijuana use is illegal for minors in the Commonwealth and only lawful for adults who are 21 years of age or older.

Reciprocity

Medical marijuana cardholders from Massachusetts can purchase or possess cannabis products in states that offer medical marijuana reciprocity. These states include Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, Utah, and Rhode Island.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Massachusetts

Possessing a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts has some downsides, which include the following:

Firearm Prohibition

It is illegal for medical marijuana cardholders in Massachusetts to own guns because federal law prohibits marijuana users from owning firearms. Massachusetts General Laws, Section 10H, also prohibit individuals with firearms licenses from carrying loaded firearms while under the influence of marijuana. Hence, having Massachusetts MMJ cards cannot protect MMJ cardholders against the legal consequences of the federal gun law prohibiting them from owning or possessing guns.

Driving Restrictions

Massachusetts laws prohibit MMJ users from driving while under the influence of marijuana. Likewise, MMJ consumers in the state cannot obtain commercial driving licenses (CDLs) because commercial vehicle drivers are subject to federal regulations that prohibit marijuana use. Drugged driving offenses in Massachusetts can result in fines, license suspension, incarceration, and mandatory participation in treatment programs. Repeat offenders risk more severe penalties.

Annual Renewal

In Massachusetts, medical marijuana cards are valid for one year, and cardholders should initiate the renewal process at least 60 days before the cards expire. Renewing an MMJ card may come with certain costs and inconveniences, such as scheduling consultations with healthcare providers for recertification for medical marijuana use. On average, consultation with a healthcare provider for medical marijuana certification in Massachusetts costs between $99 and $300. Healthcare providers are permitted to use telemedicine services for patient appointments. The Cannabis Control Commission does not charge a renewal fee for medical marijuana cards.

Employment Restrictions

Massachusetts law does not provide protection against workplace discrimination for employees who are medical marijuana consumers. Employers are not mandated to accommodate medical marijuana use by employees except for employees with medical conditions that qualify as disabilities in the Commonwealth. Also, employers in Massachusetts can choose not to hire marijuana users without legal consequences as long as they comply with federal regulations.

Medical marijuana cards do not show up on background checks in Massachusetts. However, MMJ cardholders who fail drug tests at workplaces with drug-free policies may face the consequences. Furthermore, medical marijuana users in the state cannot be federal employees due to the ongoing federal ban on marijuana.

Federal Prohibitions

The federal prohibition of marijuana use bans medical marijuana cardholders in Massachusetts from applying for federal employment. Federal employees may also risk losing their jobs if they obtain Massachusetts medical marijuana cards because federal law prohibits federal employees from using marijuana. Moreover, it is illegal for Individuals who reside in federally subsidized housing in the state to cultivate or use marijuana in their homes.

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