In 2012, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot initiative allowing the use of cannabis for medical purposes within the state. The language of the initiative, which passed with the support of 63 percent of Massachusetts voters, stipulated that the Department of Public Health would develop and publish regulations for the implementation and management of the new medical marijuana program.
The extensive regulations, entitled “Implementation of an Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana,” provide detailed guidance to physicians, patients, caregivers, dispensary agents, and dispensaries. Of particular interest for the general public may be the section that details the process for the registration of qualifying patients. Correctly following these rules could be the difference between ending up in court as a criminal defendant, and sitting at home as a law-abiding citizen with a serious illness.
According to the regulations, in order to obtain a medical marijuana registration card, a qualifying patient must provide the following information to the Department of Public Health:
1. The qualifying patient’s full name, date of birth, address, telephone number, and email address if any, and a statement indicating his or her age and that his or her primary residence is in Massachusetts.
2. Written certification for the qualifying patient from the qualifying patient’s certifying physician.
3. Full name, address, and telephone number of the qualifying patient’s certifying physician.
4. Full name, date of birth, and address of the qualifying patient’s personal caregivers, if any.
5. A statement of whether the qualifying patient will be applying for a hardship cultivation registration.
6. A copy of the qualifying patient’s Massachusetts driver’s license, government-issued identification card, or other verifiable identity document acceptable to the Department, except in the case of a qualifying patient under 18 years of age who does not have to comply with such requirement.
7. A non-refundable registration fee. If the fee poses a verified financial hardship, the qualifying patient may request a waiver of the fee in a form and manner determined by the Department.
8. Written acknowledgement of the limitations on his or her authorization to cultivate, possess, and use marijuana for medical purposes in the Commonwealth.
9. An attestation that the registered qualifying patient will not engage in the diversion of marijuana and that the patient understands that protections conferred by the Act for possession of marijuana for medical use are applicable only within Massachusetts.
10. Any other information required by the Department.
Once a qualifying patient is granted a registration card, the card will be valid for one year. In order to renew the card, the patient must once again provide all the information listed above. The registered patient must notify the Department within five days if any of the information from the application changes. A registered qualified patient must carry the registration card at all times while in possession of marijuana.
If you have been charged with violating Massachusetts drug laws, you should immediately seek out the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Edward R. Molari, Attorney at Law, today for a confidential consultation.
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