Massachusetts’ Medical Cannabis Law Takes Effect

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director January 2, 2013

    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 responses to “Massachusetts’ Medical Cannabis Law Takes Effect”

    1. TheOracle says:

      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. Skitskats says:

      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. Dave says:

      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. Galileo Galilei says:

      Thus, a little less pain prowls the world.

    5. Voice of the Restitance says:

      Can I get a hit now?

    6. Matt says:

      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!

    7. David says:

      Hallelujah!!! Go Massachusetts!!!