Last Updated on September 13, 2022 by Heally
Massachusetts has quite liberal cannabis laws, giving all residents 21 years and older the right to use cannabis recreationally. However, getting a medical marijuana card in the state still comes with a number of benefits. Medical users have access to stronger medical-grade edibles, home deliveries, and the right to appoint caregivers.
Additionally, they also have priority over recreational users (ensuring their supply isn’t disrupted by demand spikes). However, to become a medical cannabis patient, you first need to successfully navigate the paperwork. Here’s how to get a medical card in MA.
There are three basic steps to getting your Massachusetts medical card:
- Determine if you are qualified (with a doctor): Massachusetts residents can qualify for medical cannabis if they have a condition that seriously disrupts at least one “major life activity” that can be improved with cannabis.
- Schedule a Doctor’s Consultation: Next, set up a clinical visit with a Massachusetts medical cannabis doctor. If they think medical marijuana (MMJ) is an appropriate treatment for you, they’ll provide you with a pin number (write it down!) to register for a Mass MMJ card.
- Register with the state of Massachusetts: Finally, bring your pin number, a valid ID such as a license or state ID, and a photo of yourself, go to the Mass Virtual Gateway and follow the instructions to fill out the form.
Read on for detailed instructions and additional information on how to get a medical card in MA and other frequently asked questions, like how much is a Massachusetts medical card. Please visit our blog to get up-to-date information on the latest news regarding cannabis laws and reforms.
How to Get a Medical Card in MA in Three Steps
1. Determine if you are qualified
Massachusetts residents can qualify for the Medical Marijuana program if they have a debilitating medical condition. The government of Massachusetts defines a medical condition as “debilitating” if it “causes weakness, cachexia, wasting syndrome, intractable pain, or nausea, or impairing strength or ability, and progresses to an extent where one or more of a patient’s major life activities is substantially limited.”
Some qualifying conditions for a Mass MMJ card include:
Additionally, any severe illness that disrupts your life could potentially qualify you if your doctor feels cannabis is an appropriate treatment.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with the condition, you need to find a doctor to certify you for medical marijuana treatment for a period of time — up to a year.
2. Schedule a Doctor’s Consultation
Scheduling a consultation with a doctor is the second step how to get your medical card in MA. The Massachusetts MMJ program is only open to Massachusetts residents, and requires a “bona fide physician-patient relationship.” To certify you, a doctor will require a clinical visit where they will assess your medical history and current medication, and discuss the risks and benefits of medical cannabis.
Alternatively, Heally can connect you to a doctor who is able to provide an online certification visit to qualify for a Mass MMJ card. If your doctor feels marijuana is the right treatment, they’ll provide you with a certification, which you can use to register.
Your doctor will provide a certification, along with a PIN number (save this!). You will need it to register for your Mass MMJ card later. You’ll also need a valid form of ID — either a Massachusetts license, state ID, passport, or military ID. If you use a passport or military ID, you’ll need additional documentation to prove residencies, such as a utility bill from within the last 60 days, or a property or excise tax bill.
You will also need to upload a photo of yourself to be included on your card (The state may be able to access and use your driver’s license or State ID photo, in which case you won’t have to upload a new photo.) Make sure your photo is a recent picture captured on a white or off-white background. It should show your head and shoulders from eye level, without eyewear, face, or head coverings (unless they’re required for religious reasons.)
Once you have all the required materials, log in to the Massachusetts Virtual Gateway. You can also request paper registration by calling (833) 869-6820, but the process is more time-consuming.
If you’re wondering how much is a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts, you’ll be happy to know that when you work with Heally, the cost is only $199.
Selecting a Personal Caregiver
Massachusetts law allows you to designate up to two personal caregivers to help you with your medical use. Caregivers are a good idea if you’re in a position that makes it difficult to obtain or consume marijuana without help.
A caregiver should be someone you trust who is at least 21 years old and has agreed to assist you with your medical cannabis use. Additionally, caregivers can cultivate plants for patients, pick up marijuana from medical dispensaries and provide other services.
Additional Considerations for Minors
The steps outlined above help you learn how to get a medical card in MA if you are an adult medical patient over the age of 18.
Patients under the age of 18 who have a qualifying medical condition have additional requirements. To qualify for a Massachusetts MMJ card as a minor, “two Massachusetts licensed certifying physicians (at least one of whom is a board-certified pediatrician or board-certified pediatric sub-specialist) must diagnose the qualifying patient as having a debilitating life-limiting illness (one that does not respond to curative treatments, where reasonable estimates of prognosis suggest death may occur within two years).”