Massachusetts Medical Marijuana

SUMMARY: Sixty-three percent of voters approved Question 3 on November 6, 2012. The law took effect on January 1, 2013. It eliminates statewide criminal and civil penalties related to the possession and use of up to a 60-day supply of cannabis by qualified patients who possess a "valid registration card" issued by the state. ("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.") Patients must possess a recommendation from a physician attesting that cannabis assists with the treatment of a "debilitating medical condition." Physicians may authorize cannabis for the treatment of "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." The law establishes a state-run patient registry and the creation of up to 35 state-licensed, non-profit "medical marijuana treatment centers." Within the first year after the law's implementation, the state must issue regulations for the creation of such centers. Individual patients will also be permitted to privately cultivate limited amounts of cannabis or designate a "personal caregiver" to cultivate for them if they are unable to access a state-authorized dispensary or if they can verify "financial hardship."

The medical use provisions in Massachusetts do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.

Full text of the measure is available here. Additional information about the law is available from the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance.

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