Recreational use of cannabis is now legal in Massachusetts. This is a massive victory for personal freedom and a clear sign of progress for those still in dire need of natural and clean alternatives to traditional medicines.
Along with this legalization, many are curious whether they should still get their medical marijuana cards or wait for more recreational dispensaries to open across the state.
Massachusetts and Legalization
Massachusetts has an interesting history with marijuana legalization. In 2012, it became the 18th state the legalize the use of medical marijuana. While not necessarily at the forefront of the push for a greener field of medicine, Massachusetts is a pioneer nonetheless. Since Chapter 369 of the Acts of 2012 passed, allowing the “Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana”, the state has seen an increase in medical patients seeking cannabis treatment. Medical marijuana reform in MA has since been met by a drop in marijuana related crimes and a steady increase in patient options.
Like all states that have legalized cannabis for medical uses, Massachusetts has seen opposition. In 2012, around the time that Chapter 369 was being voted on, the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance appealed to the state supreme court that wording on the ballot be changed. Naturally, their appeal was denied. However, the wording was eventually changed after a vote, and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley rewrote the language on the ballot to clarify what a “yes” vote would mean. The “yes” vote did triumph despite the obstacles, and medical marijuana has proven to be a valid—and pivotal—industry in the state since.
Doors Open to Recreational Users
Recreational users were left out of Chapter 369 Act of 2012. That changed in 2016 with Question 4 of the ballot initiative. A majority voted “yes” to recreational marijuana being allowed. This changed the landscape in Massachusetts as personal use of cannabis went from decriminalized to fully legal.
Much like Chapter 369, there was opposition, but the people voted, and the law was made. The first retail licenses for recreational cannabis were granted in late 2018. Profits have been huge: one shop reported sales of upwards of $2.2 million in the first week of recreational legalization.
Advantages of the Medical Marijuana Program
While recreational use of marijuana is allowed in the state of Massachusetts, obtaining the cannabis can still be fraught with hurdles. Not all dispensaries are given retail licenses. In fact, only a few have them right now.
For medical marijuana card holders, this is a non-issue. Medical marijuana can be sold without the need for a retail license because the two use cases are separate: one use is for medical reasons, the other for personal use. If you own a card, you no doubt know that you can walk into any dispensary in the state and be helped. Even if you don’t have a card, you are more than likely eligible. A simple consultation with a medical marijuana doctor is all that it takes and you might enjoy the accessibility and prices more at medical dispensaries.
Taking the steps to get a medical card can be daunting if done alone. Well, there is no need to tread alone. Veriheal exists to get medical marijuana cards in the hands of those who truly need them and potentially don’t see a primary care physician anymore, or their primary care physician may not be registered with the state. All of the doctors in Veriheal’s network are licensed by the state to certify patients for medical cannabis use.
Do I qualify for medical cannabis in MA?
Any Massachusetts resident, who is at least 18 years old with a valid MA address and ID who has been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition listed on the programs qualifying conditions is eligible to become a medical cannabis patient in the state. The listed debilitating conditions are as follows:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Seizures or muscle spasms
Getting a Medical Medical Marijuana Card in Massachusetts
First, you need to do is book an appointment with a doctor through Veriheal to get approved for medical marijuana in Massachusetts. During the appointment, the doctor will talk to you about your ailments and how medical marijuana can help. Listen to what your doctor has to say, and be honest with them. You’ll be approved in no time.
After the consultation, a patient will then be given a temporary medical number. Register this number on the Massachusetts Department of Health website and pay the $50 application fee. If it’s your first time registering with the state, you’ll need to register on the Virtual Gateway (VG). After you login to VG, you can start your registry with the MMJ Online System. Your card should arrive in 2-3 weeks once the application is submitted. The temporary number given by the doctor can actually be used at dispensaries while you wait for the physical ID card to come in the mail.
Having a medical marijuana card on hand makes the entire process even more secure, safe, and reliable. If you need your treatment, you’ll have your card in your wallet ready to go.