What conditions qualify for medical use of marijuana?

The regulations governing medical marijuana in Massachusetts describe a qualifying condition as one that interferes with activities of daily living (work, family, social, sleep).  Certifying providers must also balance risk and benefit to ensure the most favorable patient outcome. 

How much does it cost?

Our fee for first-time certification is $220.  Our fee for recertification (for patients we have previously seen) is $170.  Registration is designed for patients to do themselves, online.  If you want, we can assist with your registration for a fee of $20.  

What’s the difference between certification and registration?

Certification is what doctors and nurse practitioners do.  It is an online process that identifies you as having a condition that qualifies for the medical use of marijuana.  Registration is what patients do. It is an online process that tells the Department of Public Health (DPH) who you are.  Both certification and registration need to be renewed each year.  The renewal dates might differ.  Your medical marijuana card also has an expiration date which is usually the same as your registration expiration date.   Both your certification and registration need to be “active” to gain entry to the dispensary as a patient.  There are numerous dispensaries in Massachusetts, please visit Weedmaps to find a dispensary close to you.  Many dispensaries offer special promotions and discounts to help make your medicine more affordable, please visit their websites for details.

What do I need to bring?

Detailed medical records are not needed.  A note from your physician supporting your certification is always welcome.  A list of medications and a list of diagnoses are helpful particularly if you have a complicated medical history.  You need to bring your driver’s license or other valid ID.  Bring your MassHealth card if you have one.  If you are renewing certification bring your Virtual Gateway Login and Password if you would like us to help you with re-registration.

How do I arrange for a caregiver?

If you are registered as a medical marijuana patient, you can choose someone to be your caregiver.  A caregiver can go with you when you visit a dispensary.  A caregiver can also go to a dispensary on their own to get medication for you.  Caregivers must be registered online with the Department of Public Health (DPH).  You will need to log on to your account through the Virtual Gateway and choose the option to assign someone as your caregiver.  A Massachusetts driver’s license or other appropriate identification of your caregiver will be needed.  There is no charge to register a caregiver.  A “Caregiver” card is mailed out about 2 weeks after registration.  It is needed to gain entry to the dispensary.

Do you certify patients under 21 years old?

We have a small number of patients aged 18-20 who are usually accompanied by a parent when they first come to see us.  It has made their certification easier.  As registered patients, they are old enough to access marijuana through the state-licensed dispensaries and to be in possession of it, but they are too young to purchase or use marijuana under any other circumstances.  While we recognize the independence of some under-21’s, their “in-between” legal status results in a more cautious approach to their certification.  We are not certifying patients under the age of 18.

Can I be certified for marijuana use in another state?

Maine:  Patients with an active Massachusetts certification and registration may purchase medial marijuana from Maine dispensaries while visiting Maine.  Maine no longer requires extra paperwork, just show your Massachusetts medical card and photo ID.  Some Maine dispensaries may require appointments, we recommend you check in with the Maine dispensary prior to visiting for the first time. 

New Hampshire & Rhode Island:  We can certify residents of Rhode Island for medical marijuana use in their own state. We can also certify residents of New Hampshire for marijuana use in their state.  Paperwork for the two states is available on the Internet. Conditions which qualify for cannabis use in Rhode Island and New Hampshire differ from each other and from qualifying conditions in Massachusetts.  We recommend that you call our office to discuss plans before you come in.

Can I take medical marijuana with me when I travel?

We strongly advise against taking marijuana across (or close to) any USA border (interstate or international).  All borders are under federal jurisdiction and marijuana is an illegal substance under federal law.  Even crossing a border between two states in which marijuana is legal can result in federal prosecution.  The same caution holds for security areas for air and sea travel, which are generally under federal jurisdiction as well.

                        Evan, Cannabis Counselor

Is the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Card accepted in other states?

Yes, but the list continues to change.  You should confirm which states will honor your card prior to travel.  Currently, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Maine will accept Massachusetts cards.  Marijuana is sold legally to any adult in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

Does health insurance cover any medical marijuana costs?  

No.  Health insurance currently does not cover the cost of certification, registration or the cost of your medicine.

What happens if my medical card expires?

Your connection to the medical use of marijuana program requires an active certification and registration.  If either one of them expires it is relatively simple to renew them.  Renewing your certification requires a visit to our office.  It becomes ACTIVE at the time of your visit.  Renewing your expired registration can be done simply by logging into your Virtual Gateway Account, choose “renew registration” and follow the prompts.   It may take up to a week to become ACTIVE.  If you come to us with your login and password to your Virutal Gateway Account, we will assist you with re-registration at no charge.