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How to get a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts

March 24, 2020
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Obtaining a medical cannabis card in Massachusetts is a relatively simple process. But it is a process. Follow these steps to make it happen.

Step one: Do you qualify?

Check your symptoms and conditions against the state’s list of qualifying conditions.

Massachusetts’ medical cannabis law was updated in late 2019 to give health care providers a greater ability to determine each patient’s need for medical marijuana.

Some of the main qualifying conditions include, but are not limited to: cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis (MS), when such diseases are debilitating.

The law also allows registered health care providers to recommend medical marijuana for “other debilitating conditions as determined in writing by a Qualifying Patient’s healthcare provider.” Debilitating is defined in the law 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.”


What Is a Medical Marijuana Card?

Step two: Find a doctor

Only health care providers who have registered with the state Medical Use of Marijuana Program are able to recommend medical cannabis. Eligible healthcare providers include physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.

Leafly maintains an updated map finder to locate state-registered doctors and clinics in your area. Clinics that specialize in cannabinoid medicine, such as MedWell Health & Wellness (three locations in the Boston area), may be more comfortable discussing your qualifying conditions and how medical cannabis may help.

During the COVID-19 crisis, MedWell is offering $175 online and telemedicine certifications, through April 30, 2020.

Leafly Finder will locate a healthcare provider near you

Step three: See the doctor

See your health care provider. If medical marijuana is appropriate for your condition, your health care provider will give you a PIN number to register with the state medical marijuana program.

Step four: Register online

Go to the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Program website to submit your application online. You’ll need to enter:

  • Your PIN number, given to you by your health care provider
  • Current, acceptable form of identification (ID)
  • Current, accepted photograph of yourself

More info here.

Note: There is no fee to register as a medical marijuana patient in Massachusetts. The old $50 fee was eliminated in 2019.

Step five: Visit a dispensary

Visit a dispensary. Your medical marijuana card will allow you access to all of the state’s dispensaries.

Note: During the COVID-19 restricted movement and purchasing period, you must carry and present your medical marijuana card to purchase at any state-licensed dispensary.

Use the Leafly Dispensary Finder to locate the dispensaries near you.

Bruce Barcott's Bio Image

Bruce Barcott

Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.

View Bruce Barcott's articles