Please visit our new site compassionforpatients.com for information regarding the implementation of the medical marijuana initiative and how you can help!

Time line for implementation:

January 1, 2013- the new medical marijuana law is effective.

Before May 2013- the state is required to write regulations regarding how patients can apply for a medical marijuana registration card and non-profit organizations can apply for treatment center registrations.

In or before January 2014- the state will issue registrations for at least 14 but no more than 35 treatment centers to operate, with a minimum of one but not more than five issued in each county.

IMPORTANT NOTE: How the medical marijuana system will work will be uncertain until regulations are issued by the state. MPAA will post information as it becomes available.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I become a medical marijuana patient under the new law?

To be a qualified patient protected under the Massachusetts medical marijuana law, you will need to obtain a written recommendation from your doctor on or after January 1, 2013.

A written recommendation is a document signed by a licensed physician that states that the potential medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the qualifying patient and specifies the patient's debilitating medical condition.

When the law is fully implemented, there will be a process to mail the recommendation to the state for verification. The state will then issue you a registration card indicating that you are enrolled in the medical marijuana program.

Until the approval of final regulations, written certification by a physician shall constitute a registration card for a qualifying patient.

Can any doctor write a recommendation for me?

No. You can only receive a recommendation from a doctor with whom you have a bona-fide physician/patient relationship. You should talk to your existing doctors, including your general practitioner or other specialists you have been working with about whether or not medical marijuana is right for you.

Step by step instructions on obtaining a medical marijuana recommendation.

How can I educate my doctor about the medicinal benefits of marijuana?

If your doctor is not aware of the medical benefits of marijuana, consider printing a booklet about medical marijuana and specific conditions from Americans for Safe Access. You can find these booklets here.

Another article that is a good start for doctors unaware of the therapeutic value of medical marijuana for treating chronic pain can be found here.

"Patients Out of Time" maintains a list of clinical studies on medical marijuana.

Medical professionals seeking additional information on clinically controlled studies of medical marijuana may wish to consult this database.

How much medicine can I possess as a medical marijuana patient?

Patients may possess a 60 day supply of medicine. The amount that constitutes a 60 day supply will be defined when the state writes regulations.

Can I grow my own medicine?

Only a very small group of patients with permission from the state based on financial hardship or physical incapacity to travel will be allowed to grow their own medicine.

The process for applying for a hardship cultivation registration will be defined in the state’s rules and regulations.

How do I obtain my medicine before the treatment centers open?

On January 1, 2013, the new law affords patients with a debilitating condition and a written doctor's recommendation the right to grow a limited amount of their own medicine to ensure patients with legitimate need have an option for safe access.  This right expires when the state issues final regulations.

I am living with a disability that prevents me from traveling to a medical treatment center or growing my own medicine. Can I designate a caregiver to help me?

After rules and regulations are issued, patients who apply for and receive a hardship cultivation registration may designate a caregiver to cultivate medicine on their behalf. The process for designating a caregiver will be determined when the state completes its regulations.

Until regulations are written, patients with a debilitating condition and a written doctor's recommendation can designate a caregiver by mailing to the state an application including the patient's written recommendation and the name, address, and date of birth of their designated caregiver. A certified return mail receipt and a photocopy of the application shall constitute a registration card for that patient's personal caregiver until the approval of final regulations.

Step by step instructions for assigning a medical marijuana caregiver.

How can I apply to get a registration to operate a medical marijuana treatment center?

The state is required to create a process for non-profit entities to apply for registrations to operate medical marijuana treatment centers by May 2013. You cannot apply for a registration before these regulations are issued.

The new law requires the state to register up to 35 treatment centers, not more than five per county and at least one per county. The minimum number of registrations that will be granted is 14. The state has until January 2014 to issue registrations.

Can MPAA help me apply for a registration?

No. MPAA exists to represent patient needs as the medical marijuana system is implemented. We do not offer technical assistance to organizations seeking to apply for MTC registrations.


This information is intended for educational purposes only. No reliance, expressed or implied, may be made on the information on this page or on any of its links. Any persons considering enrolling as a patient or caregiver in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts should consult an attorney first. This web page and its related links do not advocate that anyone violate state or federal law. Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance is not responsible for any damages incurred as a result of your reliance on the educational information on this page.