How to get a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts

What is an MMJ Card in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, a medical marijuana card is a registration ID card issued by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) to qualifying patients. This registration ID makes it legal for the holders to use and possess marijuana for medical purposes. Massachusetts decriminalized marijuana in 2008 and approved medical marijuana in 2012 with the passage of MGL c.941 - Medical Use of Marijuana Act. This law made it legal for qualifying patients, healthcare providers, caregivers, dispensaries, and treatment centers to use, recommend, and distribute medical marijuana. Patients must register with the CCC to receive medical marijuana cards.

The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) is tasked with the safe, equitable, and effective administration and regulation of the access of marijuana in the state. The most recent statistics available (March 2019) from the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Program showed there were a total of 66,945 active certifications. Of these, 59,288 were registered and active patients. There were also a total of 7,005 registered caregivers under the Program.

Who can Apply for an MMJ Card in Massachusetts?

To qualify to apply for a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts, the patient must:

  • Be 18 years and above
  • Suffer from a "debilitating medical condition"
  • Be a legal resident of Massachusetts

Can a Minor Obtain an MMJ Card in Massachusetts?

Technically, a minor (person under 18 years) cannot apply for a medical marijuana card. However, a primary caregiver can apply on behalf of a minor patient who meets the requirements to qualify for medical marijuana treatment. To qualify to receive this dispensation, the minor must have been diagnosed by at least two Massachusetts-licensed physicians. The parent or legal guardian of the minor must also agree to serve as the patient's primary caregiver.

What Conditions Qualify for Medical Marijuana Cards in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, qualifying patients for medical marijuana registration must suffer one or more of the following debilitating medical conditions;

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - Lou Gehrig's Disease
  • Cancer
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Any other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient's physician

Some other conditions that have been accepted as qualifying for the Massachusetts medical marijuana program include:

  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • PTSD
  • Seizures or muscle spasms
  • Anorexia
  • Cachexia
  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Sarcoma
  • Severe nausea
  • Arthritis
  • ADHD
  • Chronic pain

How Do I Apply for an MMJ Card in Massachusetts?

A medical marijuana card identifies the cardholder as a registered patient in the state's medical marijuana program. To apply to receive a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts, the patient must;

  • Possess one or more of the qualifying debilitating medical conditions.
  • Establish a bona fide physician-patient relationship or advanced practice nurse-patient relationship. The physician or advanced practice nurse must certify the medical marijuana use is in the patient's best interest on the Medical Use of Marijuana online portal. If the patient requires a caregiver to help acquire and dispense the medical marijuana, the physician must indicate this in the certification.
  • Complete their application. After the physician certification, the patient will be provided with a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to access the online portal and complete their application. The patient will be required to upload a valid photo ID, proof of residency, and a photo (headshot) of themselves. If the patient requires a caregiver, they can designate up to two individuals during their application. Those individuals must also register with the state as caregivers and provide the same documents.

Patients can also apply for medical marijuana cards in Massachusetts by calling (617) 660-5370 and requesting a hardcopy application form. Fill out the form and submit it with copies of the required documents and a check or money order of $50. The processing of paper medical marijuana card applications can take up to four weeks.

If the application is approved, the patient will be sent a temporary registration ID card that can be printed directly from the online portal.

How Does a Primary Caregiver Get a Massachusetts MMIC?

Caregivers assist registered qualifying patients with the medical use of marijuana and this may include transportation of the patient and product, cultivation, and administration. To receive a caregivers' medical marijuana identification card, the individual making the request must;

  • Be 21 years and above
  • Never have been convicted of a drug crime
  • Function for only one patient

To register, the caregiver must obtain the patient's PIN and use it to log in to the Medical Use of Marijuana Online System] The caregiver will need to input the required information and provide a valid photo ID and a passport-type picture. Caregivers can also register for a Massachusetts medical marijuana identification card by calling (617) 660-5370 and requesting a paper application form.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Massachusetts MMIC?

After a patient or caregiver has completed the application process, it takes about 2-3 weeks for the plastic medical marijuana identification card to be delivered. After registration, the patient or caregiver will be able to download a temporary paper MMIC from the online system that is valid for four weeks. If a registered qualifying patient or caregiver has not received their permanent MMIC within three weeks, they can call the Program at (833) 869-6820.

Getting a Massachusetts MMJ Card Online?

To obtain a Massachusetts MMJ card online, the qualifying patients must register with the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) online. A state-approved healthcare provider must certify that the patient qualifies to use medical marijuana to initiate the process. After being certified, patients receive their PINs from the Program and log into the Medical Use of Marijuana online portal to continue their registration. Patients must upload valid photo IDs, proof of their Massachusetts residency, and passport-type pictures to complete the registration. If a patient will need the services of a primary caregiver, then this must be indicated during the registration and an eligible individual assigned. The caregiver must also register with the CCC and upload the same documents as the patient. Successful applicants can download a paper copy (temporary) medical marijuana card from their online accounts. A plastic permanent card will be mailed to the patient within two weeks.

How Much Does an MMJ Card Cost in Massachusetts?

The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) no longer charges a fee for applicants to register online for the Medical Use of Marijuana program. Applicants who request and submit paper applications will however be required to pay a $50 processing fee for each application.

How Do I Renew My MMJ Card?

A Massachusetts medical marijuana registration expires one year from the previous registration date. Patients (and caregivers) are able to renew their registration up to 60 days before their current registration expires. To renew their registration, the patient must;

  • Hold a current patient certification from their healthcare provider. Patients can verify their certification status on their online account or call the Cannabis Control Commission on (833) 869-6820. If the patient's certification has elapsed, they must recertify with a state-approved healthcare provider.
  • Update their account information. Any changes in the patient's (or caregiver's) information should be updated on the online portal. This includes changes to address, phone number, and other contact details as well as renewals of any photo ID provided.

Patients will require their PINs to renew their registration and the CCC does not charge for the service of renewing registrations. Patients will receive their new registration cards in the mail within 7-10 days of completing their renewal applications.

What Documents Do I Need to Apply for an MMJ Card in Massachusetts?

To apply for a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts, the patient must provide the following documents:

  • A valid photo identification that shows proof of Massachusetts residency, such as a driver's license or any government-issued ID.
  • A passport-type picture. If the patient uses a Massachusetts driver's license, it may be possible to source the picture from it.

The patient will need their Personal Identification Number (PIN) from the Use of Medical Marijuana Program to begin their application.

Are My Details Kept Confidential When I Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in Massachusetts?

All the information provided by the patient and caregiver is considered to be medical information and, as such, is protected by HIPAA. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that restricts the release of sensitive health information without the patient's explicit consent. The privacy rule standards established by HIPAA maintain the flow of information needed to deliver proper healthcare while keeping the patient's sensitive information confidential.

The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) maintains a registry of qualified patients and caregivers and information on this registry cannot be released without explicit consent. Only a law enforcement officer can access the information so far as to verify the validity of a patient's registration. Unlawful disclosure of information on the Massachusetts registry is punishable by a fine and possible jail time.

What Information Appears on a Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Card?

A Massachusetts medical marijuana card contains the following information about the patient:

  • Name
  • Registration number
  • ID card expiration date
  • Cardholder's picture (headshot)
  • Registration type (patient or caregiver)

Can Someone Track me Down through the Massachusetts Registry?

Patient and caregiver information on the Massachusetts medical marijuana registry is protected by HIPAA. Consequently, a third party can not access a patient's information on the Massachusetts registry to track down the patient. Law enforcement agencies only have access to this registry to confirm the validity of a patient's registration.

Massachusetts Marijuana MMJ Card