What Is a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center in Massachusetts?
A Medical Marijuana Treatment Center, or MTC for short, is a business registered under medical marijuana laws. MTCs acquire, grow, hold, process, transport, sell, distribute, deliver, dispense, or administer marijuana, cannabis- or marijuana-infused goods, associated supplies, or instructional materials to registered qualified patients or their personal caregivers for medicinal use. This license type is often referred to as a vertically integrated license since it permits and requires the licensee to conduct all related activities.
After obtaining permission from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), MTCs may distribute marijuana and marijuana products directly to patients and caregivers. Medical marijuana treatment centers are formerly referred to as Registered Marijuana Dispensaries (RMD) in the state.
Does Massachusetts License Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers?
Yes. Per the Regulations on Adult Use of Marijuana (935 CMR 500.000), Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers are required to be licensed by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC). The license allows them to possess, process (including edibles, aerosols, oils, tinctures, marijuana-infused products, or ointments), repackage, transport, dispense, deliver, or administer marijuana and marijuana products to qualifying patients and their caregivers for medical use.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center License in Massachusetts
A business looking to step into Massachusetts's medical marijuana use market must complete several steps before commencing full operations. The first step is to visit the Massachusetts Cannabis Industry Portal (MassCIP) to submit the license application fee and all three parts in one application. The three parts are Application of Intent (AOI), Background Check, and Management and Operations Profile.
APPLICATION OF INTENT (AOI)
The AOI requires the applicant to disclose any persons or groups that have direct or indirect influence in their licensing application. These categories include, but are not limited to, any individual who owns a controlling interest in an applicant's indirect holding or parent company, the applicant's CEO, Executive Director, and any individual or entity in any position that may have an indirect influence on the MTC’s decision-making process.
A person or organization that qualifies as holding direct or indirect influence over a license application must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- An owner who has a financial stake in the MTC in the form of 10% or more equity.
- A person or organization with a voting stake of 10% or more in the MTC or the ability to veto important occurrences.
- An associate
- A person or entity that has the right to control, through contract or otherwise, or authority, including but not limited to:
- making decisions about operations and strategic planning, capital allocations, acquisitions, and divestments
- appointing more than half of the directors
- appointing or removing corporate-level officials;
- making major production, marketing, and financial decisions
- executing significant or exclusive contracts
- earning more than 10% of the dividends or at least 10% of the profits
- court appointee
- third-party technology provider having a financial interest in a delivery licensee
- Disclosure of In-State Interest: Applicants must state if any of the individuals or entities mentioned in the application have been declared in any other ME or MTC license application or are connected with any other current license. This information should not be deceptive, misleading, untrue, or fraudulent, or include any information that has the potential to create a false impression.
- Disclosure of Out-of-State Interest: Applicants must declare if any person or organization mentioned on their application has had or currently has marijuana-related commercial interests in other states, as well as provide proof of such interests. \
The paperwork needed for this part may include a business license, articles of incorporation, bylaws, operating agreements, or an affidavit attesting to the accuracy and truthfulness of the disclosure.
- Capital Resources: The applicant must declare the amounts and sources of funding available from each person or entity contributing funds for the establishment or operation of the MTC. You may raise funds via loans or equity investments. \
Additionally, the applicant must demonstrate proof of capital, such as a financial institution record dated within 60 days of the application's submission. A written loan agreement is required when a person or organization gives funds for a loan. \
If the person or entity providing the money is also an individual or entity with direct or indirect control of the planned MTC, you must acknowledge them. Additionally, the applicant must demonstrate via an affidavit or notarized document that any funds used to invest in or finance the business was legally earned or acquired.
- Bond or Escrow Account: All applicants must provide a bond or escrow account to cover the costs of dismantling and shutting down the MTC. The money must be adequate to pay any unpaid state or local sales taxes, secure the licensee's premises, and destroy any marijuana and inventory on the licensee's premises.
- Property Identification and Interest Documentation: Each application must identify the location of the proposed MTC. Following identification of the proposed location, the applicant must demonstrate ownership of the property, which may include:
- a legal title to the proposed site
- a legally binding agreement allowing the transfer of such title
- an option to buy the site
- paperwork from the owner granting permission to use the property
- Host Community Agreement Certification: Each application must submit a one-page certification signed by the host community's contracting authority and the applicant attesting that they have completed a Host Community Agreement. The CCC website has further information on the rules regulating Host Community Agreements. Note that the CC will not accept a fully signed Host Community Agreement in place of the single-page certification form.
- Community Outreach Meeting Attestation and Documentation: The Community Outreach Meeting's goal is to educate the public in the host community about the planned MTC, give information, and answer public questions. It is highly recommended that the Community Outreach Meeting take place prior to completing a Host Community Agreement, since the meeting is designed to inform the Host Community Agreement process.
- Plan to Remain Compliant with Local Ordinances: Each applicant must describe plans to ensure that the MTC complies with all applicable municipal regulations, ordinances, and bylaws for its physical location, including, but not limited to, the identification of any local requirements for the sale of marijuana for medicinal use. \
This plan should include all interactions with municipal agencies or authorities in relation to local regulations and permitting needs. Additionally, applicants' plans must contain the following information, but are not limited to:
- Identification of the prospective address's zoning district
- Identification of any necessary permits and Identification of the time and frequency of the renewals of the permits.
- Plan to Positively Impact Disproportionately Harmed People: This Plan must be presented by the application for an MTC license and must be intended to assist the following CCC-identified categories of disproportionately impacted people:
The applicant must identify all relevant persons and organizations and any background disclosures and permission documents in the Background Check section. The applicant must also include each person or organization mentioned in the Applicant of Intent section in the Background Check section. Individuals and organizations will be subjected to a thorough background check, and individuals will be fingerprinted.
- Background Check Information: The Commission is obliged to evaluate the appropriateness of each person and organization listed on a license application, which includes conducting background checks. Background checks will include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Records from Massachusetts and national crime databases
- Civil database records for Massachusetts and the United States, including professional and occupational records
- Other marijuana-related enterprises in which the person or organization is involved
- Any action taken against the person or entity's license or registration
Each individual and organization named on the application must disclose any pending legal actions in Massachusetts or another state. Applicants are not required to declare any convictions that have been sealed or expunged in accordance with a court order.
- Background Authorization Forms: Everyone who is a part of an application must submit to a background check. The Commission's third-party partner conducts background checks. For the partner to acquire the necessary information, the applicant must submit three authorization documents and an unexpired government-issued photo identity card for each individual mentioned on the application. The CORI Acknowledgement Form, the Disclosure and Acknowledgement Form, and the Release Authorization Form are included in this bundle.
MANAGEMENT AND OPERATIONS PROFILE
The Management and Operations Profile section provides the Commission with an overview of the applicants' strategy for running the MTC. The information required in this section demonstrates that the applicant understands the legal requirements for operating an MTC, including the Commission's rules, and that the applicant has plans that are particular to the license type, location, and size of the applicant and will be allowed to operate legally.
- Business Information, Articles of Organization, and Bylaws: All applicants must show that their prospective company is registered as a domestic business corporation or similar domestic business entity in the Commonwealth. The following items will be required:
- Business name
- Articles of Organization
- Massachusetts Business Identification number
- Certificates of Good Standing: All candidates must provide certificates from the Massachusetts State Secretary, the Department of Revenue, and the Department of Unemployment Assistance attesting to their good standing. All certificates must be dated within 90 days of the date of filing of the licensing application. \
To register with the Department of Unemployment Assistance and receive a certificate of good standing, an applicant must have workers. If an applicant is unemployed, the CCC will accept an attestation to that effect in lieu of a current Department of Unemployment Assistance certification.
- Business Plan, Liability Insurance Plan, & Proposed Timeline: All applications must include insurance policies, a timetable for establishing operations, and a detailed business strategy for the MTC's operation. The Plan may contain revenue and expenditure projections, a company overview, and an operational plan. \
Although insurance policies are not required until after licensure, applicants must demonstrate in their plans that they will get policies covering general liability and product liability for at least $1 million per occurrence and $2 million in aggregate once licensed. Each insurance policy should have a maximum deductible of $5,000 per incident.
- Summary of Operating Plans, Policies, and Procedures: The applicant is required to provide plans, policies, and procedures for the MTC’s operation. These documents must adhere to the CCC's standards and requirements. The following documents are required:
- Security Plan
- Prevention of Diversion Plan
- Storage Plan
- Transportation Plan
- Inventory Plan
- Quality Control and Testing Procedures
- Personnel Policies
- Recordkeeping Procedures
- Maintenance of Financial Records
- Detailed Description of Qualifications and Intended Training for Agents
- Energy Compliance Plan
- Diversity Plan: Applicants for an MTC license must submit a Diversity Plan as part of their Management and Operations Profile. The applicant must develop diversity plans to ensure that the establishment operates equitably for people of color, including Black, African American, Hispanic, Latinx, Indigenous people and women, veterans, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals. This Plan must include the MTC’s objectives, programs, and metrics after the business has been granted a temporary license.
Applicants for licensing as an MTC must include in the Management and Operations Profile part the following plans, policies, and procedures:
- A plan to offer low-cost or no-cost marijuana to patients who have proven verifiable financial hardship
- A plan to comply with relevant delivery laws
- An operational plan that complies with 935 CMR 501.120, including pesticide usage
- A list of all products that the applicant intends to manufacture, including the following information:
- A description of the products' kinds, shapes, colors, and tastes
- Production processes
- A safety plan for the manufacturing and production of products in accordance with 935 CMR 501.130
- A sample of any unique identifying mark that will appear on the product
Upon receiving a license application, the Commission undertakes a comprehensive review to ensure that it conforms with the Commission's rules and regulations. A request for additional information, also known as an RFI, will be sent to the applicant if any part of the application is deemed to violate the Commission's rules (Request for Information). Any defects or non-compliance issues that have been identified will be explained in a narrative that will accompany the RFI notification.
Applicants may resubmit their license applications after any errors or non-compliance problems have been corrected, and all necessary papers and information have been submitted. When the Commission receives the additional information, it will conduct an accelerated investigation into its merits. If the application is found to comply with the Commission's regulations at this stage, it will be deemed complete. If not, the CCC will send a second request for information (RFI) notification after another round of supplemental review.
Following the completion of an application in its entirety, it is put in a queue for review, which is determined by the date and time of submission and whether the application is a priority, expedited, or general application, among other factors. After determining that the application is complete, the CCC will contact the applicant with the notification of the decision. The notification will include the following information:
- Payment instructions for background checks to be performed
- Fingerprint instructions for all required individuals
- Notification that the application, to the extent permitted by law, has been sent to the municipality (in which the MTC will be located) requesting a response concerning the marijuana establishment’s compliance with local ordinances or bylaws within 60 days
- Notification that the CCC will consider the application for a provisional license within 90 days.
The CCC will issue a provisional license if the applicant and other relevant government entities submit all necessary information to the commission. Adult-Use of Marijuana Regulations, published by the Cannabis Control Commission, provide more information on MTC licensing. In addition, you may reach out to the Cannabis Control Commission at (774) 415-0200 or Commission@CCCMass.com for more details on how to apply for an MTC license in Massachusetts.
How Much Does a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center License Cost in Massachusetts?
An MTC license fee in Massachusetts costs $50,000. Additionally, the applicant will also be required to pay a $3,500 MTC application fee while applying for the license on the MassCIP. The MTC license is renewable yearly with a $50,000 fee. Payments are non-refundable.
Can Medical Marijuana Treatment Center Licensees Hold Other Cannabis Licenses in Massachusetts?
A medical marijuana treatment center may obtain other marijuana establishment licenses in Massachusetts. However, no individual or entity having direct or indirect control in an MTC license may be granted more than a total of 100,000 square feet of canopy between the MTC license and the adult-use marijuana cultivator license. The 100,000 square feet canopy cap applies across the board to all license types or combinations of license types issued by the Cannabis Control Commission.
Also, in accordance with the CCC Guide on Cannabis Licensure, no entity or person with direct or indirect control in an MTC license may be granted more than three MTC licenses.