What conditions can Medical Marijuana be used for in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, the Cannabis Control Commission only allows qualifying patients to treat their conditions with medical marijuana. The following conditions qualify for medical marijuana treatment:
- Cancer: Experts have verified the positive effects that medical cannabis has on cancer patients and their symptoms. The cannabinoids in marijuana help relieve chronic pain, intractable nausea, dizziness, and other cancer and chemotherapy treatment symptoms.
- Glaucoma: Studies have shown that cannabis is a valuable tool for reducing intraocular pressure, responsible for glaucoma. Specifically, two cannabinoid agonists—WIN 55212-2 and anandamide—and cannabinoids like CBD and CBG hold therapeutic benefits - even when applied directly to the eye.
- HIV/AIDS: Experts believe that individuals with HIV can reduce the risk of developing insulin resistance using medical cannabis. By keeping insulin resistance low, patients are less likely to develop diabetes as a result of HIV.
- Hepatitis C: Studies have shown that patients with hepatitis C can use cannabis to treat the condition and nausea from medical treatment. Other studies show that cannabis use may have helped hepatitis C patients maintain their treatment regimen.
- Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS): Some studies say that cannabis is the first naturally occurring medication that has been able to slow the progression of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in the body. It also helps ALS patients eat more, sleep more, and breathe better.
- Crohn's disease: In Massachusetts, various Crohn's disease patients use marijuana to manage their IBD symptoms. Cannabis helps relieve nausea, pain, and inflammation.
- Parkinson's disease: Patients who use medical cannabis while living with Parkinson's report reduced tremors, more movement, and less pain, and reduced symptoms of dementia and sleep disorders.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS): Existing studies claim that cannabis is highly effective in treating the symptoms of pain and spasticity that multiple sclerosis patients often report.
- Other debilitating conditions as determined in writing by a certified physician: While the Cannabis Control Commission has a list, patients can still apply if a physician deems their unlisted condition eligible for marijuana treatment.
What Does an MMJ Card Permit in Massachusetts
A medical marijuana card in Massachusetts enables a qualifying patient to possess;
- Up to 60 days supply of usable marijuana flowers, typically around 10 ounces, at one time.
- Up to 50g of marijuana concentrates, such as resin, hash, and edibles.
- Up to six marijuana plants (must be stored in a secured facility).
A medical marijuana card also enables a Massachusetts qualifying patient to have their medical marijuana delivered to them. Patients may also pay for their medical marijuana using credit or debit cards.
How Long is a Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Card Valid?
A medical marijuana registration ID in Massachusetts is valid for one year and, as such, must be renewed annually. Qualifying patients must renew their registrations before the previous one expires or they will lose the privileges afforded by the Medical Use of Marijuana Act.
Does Massachusetts have Medical Marijuana Reciprocity?
Massachusetts does not have a medical marijuana reciprocity program that allows the purchase of medical marijuana. Consequently, out-of-state medical marijuana cards are not valid in the state and cardholders cannot purchase medical marijuana from dispensaries. Out-of-state cardholders do have any legal protection if they are found in possession of medical marijuana. However, they must be within the limits allowed by Massachusetts for the protections to be upheld.
Is an MMIC Valid Outside of Massachusetts?
A Massachusetts medical marijuana card may be recognized in any state that operates a medical marijuana reciprocity program. Consequently, a qualifying patient will suffer no legal repercussions if found in possession of medical marijuana, provided they are within the state's legal limits. Patients will need to verify beforehand if they will be able to purchase medical marijuana from any of the local dispensaries in the state. The states that offer some form of medical marijuana reciprocity are:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- Washington D.C.
Does Massachusetts Recognize MMJ Cards Issued by Another State?
Massachusetts does not have a medical marijuana program and will not recognize cards issued by another state. However, the state does offer legal protection to registered qualifying patients from other states who are in possession of medical marijuana. These patients must possess a valid MMJ card and must be within the state's allowable limits.
Does a Massachusetts MMIC Protect Me Under Federal Law?
Federal laws tend to supersede state laws and because marijuana is illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, a Massachusetts MMIC will not protect the holder. The federal government does not recognize the medical capacity of marijuana and any persons that possess or use it in federal jurisdictions may be prosecuted. A Massachusetts MMIC will only protect the cardholder from federal laws if they are within the state jurisdiction and maintain the allowable limits.