The Medical Use of Marijuana Program

MA Law and Registration Info



Online Registration


In order for a patient to self-register as a patient in the MMJ Online System you will need the following:

  • Internet access;
  • Access to a scanner, mobile scanning software, or pre-scanned digital copies of the documents (as explained below);
  • A printer;
  • Your registration number as given to you by your health care provider after they have issued you a certification;
  • A valid form of identification (as explained below);
  • A photograph of yourself (as explained below); and
  • A form of payment, or proof of verified financial hardship (as explained below)

After your successful appointment, you must register online with the number provided from our office. If you are unable to perform the steps below, contact our office and we can assist you.

Read the following instructions before you attempt the patient registration process in the Medical Use of Marijuana Online System (MMJ Online System).

PREPARING FOR REGISTRATION

First, in order to register as a patient in the MMJ Online System you will need the following:

  • Internet access;
  • Access to a scanner, mobile scanning software, or pre-scanned digital copies of the documents (as explained below);
  • A printer;
  • Your registration number as given to you by your health care provider after they have issued you a certification;
  • A valid form of identification (as explained below);
  • A photograph of yourself (as explained below); and
  • A form of payment, or proof of verified financial hardship (as explained below).

Next, scan and save onto your computer: 

  • the valid form of identification; and the photograph of yourself.

If applying for a registration fee waiver (as explained below), also scan and save onto your computer the proof of verified financial hardship (as explained below).

These documents will be uploaded to the MMJ Online System during the patient registration process.

Valid Form of Identification

Valid forms of identification include:

  • Massachusetts driver’s license;
  • Massachusetts ID card (with a photograph of yourself);
  • US passport AND another document that proves your Massachusetts residence; or US military ID AND another document that proves your Massachusetts residence.

 

Proof of Massachusetts residence may include, but is not limited to: 

  • A utility bill (gas, electric, telephone, cable, or heating oil), that is less than 60 days old and must contain your name and address;
  • Your current Massachusetts motor vehicle registration card with your current address;
  • Tuition bill with a due date of less than 6 months ago and addressed to your current address;
  • Car insurance policy or bill that is less than 60 days old;
  • Home mortgage, lease, or loan contracts dated within 6 months of today with your name, address and signature;
  • Original or certified copy of a U.S. Marriage Certificate dated within the past 6 months;
  • A property tax or excise tax bill for the current year with your name and address;
  • First-class mail dated less than 60 days old from any federal or state agency that displays your name and address; or
  • Current Massachusetts-issued Professional License with your address.

Photograph of Yourself

This photo will be placed on your Program ID card.

Your photo should be:

  • In color;
  • Uploaded as a square photo;
  • Taken within the last 6 months to reflect what you look like now;
  • Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background;
  • Taken looking directly at the camera;
  • Taken without smiling and with both eyes open; and
  • Taken in clothing that you normally wear (for example, no clothing item that covers your face or head, except for religious purposes).

Please ensure that your photo is in .jpg format with a maximum size of 2 MB.

 

Form of Payment

There is a $50 fee to complete a patient registration.

Acceptable forms of payment include:

  • Credit card;
  • Debit card;
  • Bank account number and bank routing number; or
  • If you are registering with paper forms, a check or money order payable to “The Commonwealth of Massachusetts”. Your check or money order must be included with the paper registration forms.

 

Fee Waiver

If you have a verified financial hardship, you may be qualified for a registration fee waiver. You are considered to have a verified financial hardship if you are a recipient of MassHealth, or Supplemental Security Income, or your income does not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level. In order to apply for a registration fee waiver, you must submit proof of verified financial hardship.

Proof of verified financial hardship includes the following:

  • MassHealth card;
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit verification letter;
  • Form W-2 from this year or last year;
  • State or federal tax return from this year or last year;
  • Current (no more than 60 days old) pay stub with employer’s name and address and your name and residential address (if you are self-employed, submit your most recent quarterly loss/profit statement);
  • SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) statement from the current year; Unemployment award letter for the current year; or         Unemployment check stub for the current year.

 

SELECTING A PERSONAL CAREGIVER

While registering as a patient, you will be given the option to select a personal caregiver. A personal caregiver is someone who may assist you with your medical use of marijuana.

You may designate up to two caregivers who are not currently designated by another patient, unless that caregiver is your immediate family member.

In order to designate a personal caregiver you will need your caregiver’s registration number and last name. Please note that you may also select a caregiver in the future, after completing your patient registration.

 

REGISTRATION PROCESS

Now that you have been provided with a certification from a qualified health care provider and gathered the necessary documents, you may begin the online patient registration process.

You will be sent several emails during the registration process. Each email will have instructions on how to complete the next step. Please note that the links may expire as soon as seven (7) days after being emailed to you and some links are valid only the first time that you click on the link.

The MMJ Online System times out after 30 minutes.  If you would like to take a break during the registration process, a good stopping point is right after you receive a confirmation e-mail and before you click the link in the confirmation e-mail to start the next step of the registration process.

 

In order to register, please follow these steps:

  • Step 1: After a qualified health care provider certifies you for the medical use of marijuana, you will receive registration information via email that includes a website link to create an account on the Virtual Gateway (VG). Follow the link, read and accept the terms and conditions, enter the personal information required, and select a 4-digit pin number. After answering the security question, click “Submit” to be taken to the next page.
  • Step 2: You will then receive an email from the VG system telling you that your account request has been processed. This email will contain a link that you will click on in order to finish the VG registration process. At this link you will need to create a password and answer two security questions that will be used to reset your password if you forget it.
  • Step 3: Once you complete this information you will be taken to a screen that contains your username. Your VG account is now created. Any time you wish to return to the MMJ Online System you will log in to the VG at https://gateway.hhs.state.ma.us with the username provided and the password you selected.
  • Step 4: When you log in to the VG click on the link to “Medical Use of Marijuana System”. This will log you into the MMJ Online System. The MMJ Online System will then display the Welcome page.
  • Step 5: Click “Register as a Patient” to access the Home Page for the MMJ Online System. This is where you will enter in your registration information, which includes your registration number that you received from your qualified health care provider, your last name, date of birth, and the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. Click on “Proceed” to continue to the next page.
  • Step 6: The next screen lists the instructions that are on the registration information you received from your qualified health care provider. Review these registration instructions and click on “Proceed.”
  • Step 7: A confirmation screen with your registration number will appear. Click on “OK” to proceed. This will take you to the screen where you will enter additional registration information.
  • Step 8: Complete your registration information and read and agree to the attestations. Read the list of requirements and check the box stating that you agree to comply with the requirements. Then click the “Proceed” button to be taken to the next screen.
  • Step 9: On the next screen you may designate a personal caregiver, who is a person over the age of 21 that has agreed to assist you with the medical use of marijuana. Once you have selected if you would like to designate a caregiver, click on the “Proceed” button to be taken to the next screen. Please note that before you can designate a caregiver, the caregiver must be registered with the MMJ Online System and approved by DPH. Your selected caregiver must provide you with their registration number and last name in order for you to designate them as your caregiver.
  • Step 10: Scan a copy of your Massachusetts Driver’s License and then upload the file to the MMJ Online system. If you do not have a Massachusetts Driver’s License, you will need to upload a scanned copy of another valid form of identification, as explained above. If another form of identification is used, proof of Massachusetts residency is required, as explained above. Click on “Browse” to find the correct file, select the file, and then click on the “Proceed” button.
  • Step 11: Scan and upload a photo of yourself to the MMJ Online System. The photo must follow the photo guidelines explained above and will be used for identification purposes in the MMJ Online System. The photo will also be placed on your Registration ID card. Click on “Browse” to find the correct file, select the file, and then click on the “Proceed” button.
  • Step 12: There is a registration fee of $50 that may be paid with any of the forms of payment listed above. Click the “Pay Fee” button at the bottom of the screen and follow the instructions to proceed.

There is an option to apply for a registration fee waiver if you have a verified financial hardship, as defined above. If you have a verified financial hardship, click the box that says “Apply for Registration Fee Waiver”. You will then be taken to a screen with a series of questions that must be answered. Once you are done, click “Submit”, and the information will be reviewed by Medical Use of Marijuana Program to determine eligibility for a registration fee waiver. The request may take several weeks to process.

  • Step 13: If you are not applying for a fee waiver, click on the “Pay Fee” button, which will take you to a secure payment screen where you can enter your payment information.

 

  • Step 14: After you have entered all the information into the application, you will be taken to a screen to review your application. Review the information on the screen and click on the different sections of the application on the right side of the page if any changes are needed. Once all the information is correct, click on the box in the financial information Attestation which says that you agree that the income information, to the best of your knowledge, is true, correct, and complete, and then click “Submit”.

 

  • Step 15: You will then be taken to a screen confirming submission of your application. Your application will then be reviewed by the Medical Use of Marijuana Program. Once your registration is reviewed by the Department, you will be notified by email regarding the status of your registration. Registrations are processed in the order they are received. If approved, you will be able to print your paper Program ID card and will receive your plastic Program ID card at a later date.

 

PROGRAM ID CARD

You must have your Program ID card as well as the valid form of identification that you used to register in the MMJ Online System at all times when you possess or handle marijuana for medical use.

There is a $10 fee to replace a lost Program ID card.

 

 CHANGE OF ADDRESS

If you move, your address may be updated by calling the Medical Use of Marijuana Program at 617-660-5370.

 

QUESTIONS

Should you have questions regarding the registration process, please contact the Medical Use of Marijuana Program Support Center at 617-660-5370.


Massachusetts Law


The citizens of Massachusetts intend that there should be no punishment under state law for qualifying patients, physicians and health care professionals, personal caregivers for patients, or Medical Marijuana treatment center agents for the medical use of marijuana, as defined herein.

Section 2. As used in this Law, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:

(A) “Card holder” shall mean a qualifying patient, a personal caregiver, or a dispensary agent of a medical marijuana treatment center who has been issued and possesses a valid registration card.

(B) “Cultivation registration” shall mean a registration issued to a medical marijuana treatment center for growing marijuana for medical use under the terms of this Act, or to a qualified patient or personal caregiver under the terms of Section 11.

(C) “Debilitating medical condition” shall mean: Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician.

(D) “Department” shall mean the Department of Public Health of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

(E) “Dispensary agent” shall mean an employee, staff volunteer, officer, or board member of a non-profit medical marijuana treatment center, who shall be at least twenty-one (21) years of age.

(F) “Enclosed, locked facility” shall mean a closet, room, greenhouse, or other area equipped with locks or other security devices, accessible only to dispensary agents, patients, or personal caregivers.

(G) “Marijuana,” has the meaning given “marihuana” in Chapter 94C of the General Laws.

(H) “Medical marijuana treatment center” shall mean a not-for-profit entity, as defined by Massachusetts law only, registered under this law, that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes (including development of related products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfers, transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers marijuana, products containing marijuana, related supplies, or educational materials to qualifying patients or their personal caregivers.

(I) “Medical use of marijuana” shall mean the acquisition, cultivation, possession, processing, (including development of related products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfer, transportation, sale, distribution, dispensing, or administration of marijuana, for the benefit of qualifying patients in the treatment of debilitating medical conditions, or the symptoms thereof.

(J) “Personal caregiver” shall mean a person who is at least twenty-one (21) years old who has agreed to assist with a qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana. Personal caregivers are prohibited from consuming marijuana obtained for the personal, medical use of the qualifying patient. An employee of a hospice provider, nursing, or medical facility providing care to a qualifying patient may also serve as a personal caregiver.

(K) “Qualifying patient” shall mean a person who has been diagnosed by a licensed physician as having a debilitating medical condition.

(L) “Registration card” shall mean a personal identification card issued by the Department to a qualifying patient, personal caregiver, or dispensary agent. The registration card shall verify that a physician has provided a written certification to the qualifying patient, that the patient has designated the individual as a personal caregiver, or that a medical treatment center has met the terms of Section 9 and Section 10 of this law. The registration card shall identify for the Department and law enforcement those individuals who are exempt from Massachusetts criminal and civil penalties for conduct pursuant to the medical use of marijuana.

(M) “Sixty-day supply” means that amount of marijuana that a qualifying patient would reasonably be expected to need over a period of sixty days for their personal medical use.

(N) “Written certification” means a document signed by a licensed physician, stating that in the physician’s professional opinion, the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the qualifying patient. Such certification shall be made only in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship and shall specify the qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition(s).

Section 3. Protection from State Prosecution and Penalties for Health Care Professionals

A physician, and other health care professionals under a physician’s supervision, shall not be penalized under Massachusetts law, in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, for:

(a) Advising a qualifying patient about the risks and benefits of medical use of marijuana; or

(b) Providing a qualifying patient with written certification, based upon a full assessment of the qualifying patient’s medical history and condition, that the medical use of marijuana may benefit a particular qualifying patient.

Section 4. Protection From State Prosecution and Penalties for Qualifying Patients and Personal Caregivers

Any person meeting the requirements under this law shall not be penalized under Massachusetts law in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, for such actions. A qualifying patient or a personal caregiver shall not be subject to arrest or prosecution, or civil penalty, for the medical use of marijuana provided he or she:

(a) Possesses no more marijuana than is necessary for the patient’s personal, medical use, not exceeding the amount necessary for a sixty-day supply; and

(b) Presents his or her registration card to any law enforcement official who questions the patient or caregiver regarding use of marijuana.

Section 5. Protection From State Prosecution and Penalties for Dispensary Agents.

A dispensary agent shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or civil penalty, under Massachusetts law, for actions taken under the authority of a medical marijuana treatment center, provided he or she:

(a) Presents his or her registration card to any law enforcement official who questions the agent concerning their marijuana related activities; and

(b) Is acting in accordance with all the requirements of this law.

Section 6. Protection Against Forfeiture and Arrest

(A) The lawful possession, cultivation, transfer, transport, distribution, or manufacture of medical marijuana as authorized by this law shall not result in the forfeiture or seizure of any property.

(B) No person shall be arrested or prosecuted for any criminal offense solely for being in the presence of medical marijuana or its use as authorized by this law.

Section 7. Limitations of Law

(A) Nothing in this law allows the operation of a motor vehicle, boat, or aircraft while under the influence of marijuana.

(B) Nothing in this law requires any health insurance provider, or any government agency or authority, to reimburse any person for the expenses of the medical use of marijuana.

(C) Nothing in this law requires any health care professional to authorize the use of medical marijuana for a patient.

(D) Nothing in this law requires any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any place of employment, school bus or on school grounds, in any youth center, in any correctional facility, or of smoking medical marijuana in any public place.

(E) Nothing in this law supersedes Massachusetts law prohibiting the possession, cultivation, transport, distribution, or sale of marijuana for nonmedical purposes.

(F) Nothing in this law requires the violation of federal law or purports to give immunity under federal law.

(G) Nothing in this law poses an obstacle to federal enforcement of federal law.

Section 8. Department to define presumptive 60-day supply for qualifying patients.

Within 120 days of the effective date of this law, the department shall issue regulations defining the quantity of marijuana that could reasonably be presumed to be a sixty-day supply for qualifying patients, based on the best available evidence. This presumption as to quantity may be overcome with evidence of a particular qualifying patient’s appropriate medical use.

Section 9. Registration of nonprofit medical marijuana treatment centers.

(A) Medical marijuana treatment centers shall register with the department.

(B) Not later than ninety days after receiving an application for a nonprofit medical marijuana treatment center, the department shall register the nonprofit medical marijuana treatment center to acquire, process, possess, transfer, transport, sell, distribute, dispense, and administer marijuana for medical use, and shall also issue a cultivation registration if:

1. The prospective nonprofit medical marijuana treatment center has submitted:

(a) An application fee in an amount to be determined by the department consistent with Section 13 of this law.

 (b) An application, including:

 (i) The legal name and physical address of the treatment center and the physical address of one additional location, if any, where marijuana will be cultivated.

(ii) The name, address and date of birth of each principal officer and board member.

(c) Operating procedures consistent with department rules for oversight, including cultivation and storage of marijuana only in enclosed, locked facilities.

2. None of the principal officers or board members has served as a principal officer or board member for a medical marijuana treatment center that has had its registration certificate revoked.

(C) In the first year after the effective date, the Department shall issue registrations for up to thirty-five non-profit medical marijuana treatment centers, provided that at least one treatment center shall be located in each county, and not more than five shall be located in any one county. In the event the Department determines in a future year that the number of treatment centers is insufficient to meet patient needs, the Department shall have the power to increase or modify the number of registered treatment centers.

(D) A medical treatment center registered under this section, and its dispensary agents registered under Section 10, shall not be penalized or arrested under Massachusetts law for acquiring, possessing, cultivating, processing, transferring, transporting, selling, distributing, and dispensing marijuana, products containing marijuana, and related supplies and educational materials, to qualifying patients or their personal caregivers.

Section 10. Registration of medical treatment center dispensary agents.

(A) A dispensary agent shall be registered with the Department before volunteering or working at a medical marijuana treatment center.

(B) A treatment center must apply to the Department for a registration card for each affiliated dispensary agent by submitting the name, address and date of birth of the agent.

(C) A registered nonprofit medical marijuana treatment center shall notify the department within one business day if a dispensary agent ceases to be associated with the center, and the agent’s registration card shall be immediately revoked.

(D) No one shall be a dispensary agent who has been convicted of a felony drug offense. The Department is authorized to conduct criminal record checks with the Department of Criminal Justice Information to enforce this provision.

Section 11. Hardship Cultivation Registrations.

The Department shall issue a cultivation registration to a qualifying patient whose access to a medical treatment center is limited by verified financial hardship, a physical incapacity to access reasonable transportation, or the lack of a treatment center within a reasonable distance of the patient’s residence. The Department may deny a registration based on the provision of false information by the applicant. Such registration shall allow the patient or the patient’s personal caregiver to cultivate a limited number of plants, sufficient to maintain a 60-day supply of marijuana, and shall require cultivation and storage only in an enclosed, locked facility.

The department shall issue regulations consistent with this section within 120 days of the effective date of this law. Until the department issues such final regulations, the written recommendation of a qualifying patient’s physician shall constitute a limited cultivation registration.

Section 12. Medical marijuana registration cards for qualifying patients and designated caregivers.

(A) A qualifying patient may apply to the department for a medical marijuana registration card by submitting:

1. Written certification from a physician.

2. An application, including:

(a) Name, address unless homeless, and date of birth.

(b) Name, address and date of birth of the qualifying patient’s personal caregiver, if any.

Section 13. Department implementation of Regulations and Fees.

Within 120 days of the effective date of this law, the department shall issue regulations for the implementation of Sections 9 through 12 of this Law. The department shall set application fees for non-profit medical marijuana treatment centers so as to defray the administrative costs of the medical marijuana program and thereby make this law revenue neutral.

Until the approval of final regulations, written certification by a physician shall constitute a registration card for a qualifying patient. Until the approval of final regulations, a certified mail return receipt showing compliance with Section 12 (A) (2) (b) above by a qualifying patient, and a photocopy of the application, shall constitute a registration card for that patient’s personal caregiver.

Section 14. Penalties for Fraudulent Acts.

(A) The department, after a hearing, may revoke any registration card issued under this law for a willful violation of this law. The standard of proof for revocation shall be a preponderance of the evidence. A revocation decision shall be reviewable in the Superior Court.

(B) The fraudulent use of a medical marijuana registration card or cultivation registration shall be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in the house of correction, or a fine up to $500, but if such fraudulent use is for the distribution, sale, or trafficking of marijuana for non-medical use for profit it shall be a felony punishable by up to 5 years in state prison or up to two and one half years in the house of correction.

Section 15. Confidentiality

The department shall maintain a confidential list of the persons issued medical marijuana registration cards. Individual names and other identifying information on the list shall be exempt from the provisions of Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. Chapter 66, section 10, and not subject to disclosure, except to employees of the department in the course of their official duties and to Massachusetts law enforcement officials when verifying a card holder’s registration.

Section 16. Effective Date.

This law shall be effective January 1, 2013.

Section 17. Severability.

The provisions of this law are severable and if any clause, sentence, paragraph or section of this measure, or an application thereof, shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or application adjudged invalid.

We, the Undersigned registered voters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, having read the full text of the foregoing proposed law, do fully subscribe to its content and agree to be among the original signers of the Petition.

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