Massachusetts’ Medical Cannabis Law Takes Effect

Question 3, ‘An Initiative Petition for a Law for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana,’ took effect on Tuesday, January 1. Sixty-three percent of state voters approved the measure on Election Day. Massachusetts is the 18th state since 1996 to allow for the physician-authorized use of cannabis as a therapeutic option for qualified patients. Neighboring states Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont all also allow for cannabis therapy.

The new law 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 state-authorized “registration card.” State regulators have 120 days to “issue regulations defining the quantity of marijuana that could reasonably be presumed to be a sixty-day supply for qualifying patients.”

To qualify for the nascent program, patients must possess a recommendation from a physician attesting that cannabis assists with the treatment of a “debilitating medical condition.” Physicians may authorize cannabis under the law 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 are also 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.”

Massachusetts’ new medical use provisions do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.

Additional information about the law is available from the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance.

23 thoughts

  1. This is great news for MMJ.

    I want full legalization as in Colorado and Washington. Pennsylvania still has complete prohibition, no MMJ. It will take a federal change that keeps the feds out of cannabis states before Harrisburg jumps on the cannabis money train. It’s not like the state is rolling in dough, and can’t use the money. It’s a thick-headed bunch there in the capital.

  2. How can a green organic vegetable plant that grows from the ground be lumped together with the toxic poisens used to methamphetamine CrackCocaine Herion Crank ect… Y’know real drugs that kill people? How on earth is that even concievable? Who let this occur? Why did it occur? And lable it with racist hateful language like motherfucker marijauna motherfucker Cannabis is safer than licquor Statistics tell us this there’s not even a viable comparison How did we allow this?

  3. Skitskats, we didn’t. All these anti-marijuana laws are just libel and hold no weight. The fact our judical system has upheld these illegal, crap statutes just goes to show how dysfunctional our two party system is. All judges are either Democrats or Republicans and they clearly cannot tell right from wrong; but rather tow the party lines. These clowns act like they are kings while holding court, almost like is it part of their training. The reason marijuana hasn’t won in court? The whole system has been tainted with a ‘facts be damned’ attitude.

  4. This is great news. Qualified patients should not be denied medicinal care because prohibition-era regulations. Now if only the rest of the states were less narrow-minded!

  5. I was wondering if ayone in mass, knows of a dispensary in mass at all or when the first 1 will be open to do business. ty

  6. Great news! Much love and respect to all that believed in the cause and have been instrumental in progressing the movement. Honestly, if you had asked me ten years ago i would have never in my wildest dreams believed we would be where we are today. I’m so happy for all patients nationwide who so desperately need and deserve this. Who knows where we’ll be at in another ten years?! Very exciting.

  7. The Case For Medical Marijuana

    1988 the US Department of Justicepublished a report that stated, “Nearly all medicines have a toxic, and in some cases, potentially lethal effects.

    But cannabis is not such a substance. There is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality. In practical terms, cannabis cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity.”

    Cannabis , more commonly known as marijuana is a vasodilator which is why if you smoke it, your eyes get red. A vasodilator is a medication or substance that relaxes the muscles around a blood vessel, which allows the blood vessel to dilate.Vasodilation means that the the blood vessels expand, resulting in the relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls, in both the large veins, large arteries, and smaller arterioles, and capillaries, Thus in addition to delivering more oxygen and nutrients to your brain and bodily tissues more efficiently and expediently, it also eliminates toxins more efficiently, such asthe resistant bacterial afflictions such as Staphylococcus aureus.

    Cannabis also has muscle-relaxant properties which are beneficial in the treatment of the symptoms of numerous diseases and disorders that are congenital as well as acquired. This is why the stiffness and contraction associated with conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Strokes, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, and paralysis and spinal cord injuries, and Associated Sensory Neuropathy caused by accidents.

    In clinical applications applications Cannabis researchers have found its use to be beneficial to people who suffer from a variety of afflictions of which the most commonly known include the treatment of nausea, vomiting, premenstrual syndrome, Anorexia Nervosa and unintentional weight loss, lack of appetite, and insomnia., as well as asthma diabetic glaucoma”and the disabling side side effects of the Chemotherapy used in Cancer treatments.

    In more recent studies findings imply that Cannabis, and Cannabis based medicines could be beneficial in the treatment of other medical infirmities such as Colitis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Migraines, and Fibromyalgia.

    Preliminary findings also indicate that cannabis-based drugs could prove useful in treating a plethora of other conditions, . The list of conditions that have been improved by the use of Medical cannabis is astounding. From the amyotrophic effects of diseases like Lou Gehrig’s disease.

    And while many psychoactive drugs clearly fall into the category of either stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogen, cannabis exhibits a mix of all properties, and as a result is being used with encouraging results in the treatment of the debilitating effects of psychoactive disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and its usefulness in treating alcohol abuse is being considered.

    From sickle-cell disease,a genetic blood disorder that primarily affects African Americans,Latinos, and those of Mediterranean origin. Tourette Syndrome, the list of physical maladies and disease that respond positively to treatment with Cannabis seems endless, and is growing.

    In a controlled study of Cannabis in the treatment of Tourette syndrome, researchers found that patients being treated with Marinol, a synthetic version of tetrahydrocannabinol which is the main psychoactive chemical found in cannabis, showed that the patients had a beneficial response without serious adverse effects, while other studies have shown that cannabis did indeed have a favorable effect on Tourette patients. Case reports found that cannabis helped reduce tics.

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