How to Get A Medical Marijuana Card in Massachusetts Step by Step

Despite Massachusetts voters approving Question 3 in November 2012, the rollout of Massachusetts' Medical Use of Marijuana Program (MMMP) was delayed for nearly 3 years. At its core, the so-called Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative permitted qualifying patients to legally obtain medical marijuana to treat certain debilitating medical conditions. It also established a regulated system of dispensaries, the first of which finally opened in June 2015.

Massachusetts voters went on to legalize marijuana for recreational use on November 8, 2016, with the approval of Question 4. The so-called Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative established the legalization, taxation, and regulation of marijuana, much like alcohol.

Despite marijuana being legal for medical and adult use, there are many advantages of carrying a medical card, not the least of which being added legal protection.

The process for applying for and obtaining a medical card is simple enough, but if you find yourself with any questions or require help, the Sanctuary is here to assist you.

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Step 1: Identify Your Qualifying Condition

The Cannabis Control Commission, regulator of MMMP, allows for a broad range of debilitating conditions. Debilitating is defined by the commission as “causing weakness, cachexia, wasting syndrome, intractable pain, or nausea, or impairing strength or ability, and progressing to such an extent that one or more of a patient’s major life activities is substantially limited.”

You must be certified by a state-registered healthcare professional as having one of the following conditions to be eligible for MMMP:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancer
  • Crohn's disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Hepatitis C
  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Any other debilitating condition as determined in writing by a certified physician

Step 2: Meet with A Licensed Physician

Before registering with the state as a patient, adults that are 18 years or older must get a written recommendation from a certified healthcare professional that identifies their debilitating medical condition. Patients under 18 years old must receive approval from two licensed healthcare providers, one of whom must be a pediatrician or pediatric specialist.

If you are under 18 years of age or otherwise unable to apply for an MMJ card on your own, you can appoint a personal caregiver to navigate the application process on your behalf.

The commission considers a certifying healthcare provider to be a licensed physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner who are registered with MMMP.

Following your appointment, you will be notified by MMMP via email with your personal identification number (PIN) and instructions on completing your online patient application.

Step 3: Compile Your Paperwork

Once you've been certified, you can prepare your application for submission. You will need to collect some documents together.

First, you will need a valid form of photo ID that proves your Massachusetts residency. This proof of residency can include a valid Massachusetts driver’s license, a current Massachusetts ID card that includes your photo, or a current U.S. passport or U.S. military ID.

If you submit a military ID or passport, you must also submit a document validating your primary residence. Note that any name and address on the supporting document must match the information submitted on your registration application. These state ID validation documents can include the following:

  • Utility bill that is less than 60 days old
  • Current motor vehicle registration card
  • Tuition bill with a due date of less than six months old
  • Car insurance policy or bill that is less than 60 days old
  • Certified U.S. marriage certificate dated within the past six months
  • Home mortgage, lease, or loan contracts less than six months old
  • Property tax or excise tax bill for current year
  • First-class mail from a federal or state agency less than 60 days old
  • Current state-issued professional license with your address

Next you will need a passport-style photo to be used for your MMMP registration card. This photo must meet similar criteria as one for a typical passport. A list of criteria can be found on the commission's website.

Photos can be taken at any business that issues passport photos, such as a pharmacy, camera store, or certain U.S. Postal Service offices.

Step 4: Register and Submit Your MMMP Application

Next, prepare your application for registration and submit it using the state's Medical Use of Marijuana Program Online System. You can register by mail instead with a form available on the commission's website. The fastest approval will come from online.

The registration process in Massachusetts doesn't involve any fees. Your primary cost will come from your doctor’s visit. And if you lose your MMJ card, replacement cards cost $10 in the state of Massachusetts.

Your contact information should be correct and match the ID card that you submitted with your application. Update your profile with the state as it changes, such as moving to a new address.

Help with the online system is available through online tutorials.

Step 5: Receive Your Medical Marijuana Card in the Mail

If the state approves you to be a medical marijuana patient, you will be able to print a temporary card to use for up to 14 days until your actual card arrives, typically in 7-14 days.

Carry your card whenever you are in possession of your medical marijuana. You can possess up to a 60-day supply, or 10 ounces, at any one time, although your certifying healthcare provider may prescribe more if needed.

At Massachusetts medical marijuana dispensaries, you’ll be able to purchase a variety of cannabis products, such as edibles, concentrates, and more.

Your temporary card or actual card, along with a second form of ID, will gain you entry into a medical marijuana treatment center.

You will need to renew your certification annually. There is no fee imposed by the state for renewals, even for new patients. Your doctor’s visit will likely impose your only cost.

Need Help Obtaining A Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Card?

If you need assistance with obtaining your Massachusetts medical marijuana card, The Sanctuary Wellness Institute can help. We can also connect you with a licensed physician who is able to certify your qualifying medical condition.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you obtain a Massachusetts medical cannabis card.