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Friday April 28, 2017

Updated on 10/08/2020

By Michael Walters


Massachusetts became the 18th state to legalize medical marijuana in 2012. In 2008, Massachusetts decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, and then, in 2016, voters legalized recreational marijuana. Rec dispensaries are now open, however the medical market continues to thrive. The law in Massachusetts requires all patients to be registered with the Cannabis Control Commission's Medical Use of Marijuana Program to obtain a medical marijuana card and purchase or use medicinal marijuana products.

Although the process to obtain a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts can be tedious, patients can get the highest level of experiential medical marijuana knowledge and receive a recommendation from a doctor in a few short steps.  After you have received your recommendation from a doctor, follow the instructions below to submit a formal application to the DPH.

Process to Obtain a Medical Marijuana Card in Massachusetts:

If you’re looking for a quicker way to receive a doctor’s recommendation, check out a qualified company with access to doctors around the country.

Regardless, an individual must be enrolled into the DPH registry in order to legally purchase medical marijuana from a medical dispensary in Massachusetts.

To do so, one must:

  • Have a qualifying chronic health condition

  • Get certified by a licensed physician

  • Once certified, you must complete an application with the DPH

  • If approved, you’ll get your medical marijuana card in the mail


A patient must be 18 years of age or older to apply for a Massachusetts medical marijuana card. If the patient is a minor, he/she must be diagnosed by at least two Massachusetts licensed physicians as having an illness which does not respond to other treatments and is expected to result in death within two years. There are other exceptions to the rules, including guardians giving written consent, etc.

Adults simply need to be 21 years of age or older.

Note that you must have proof of residency in the state of Massachusetts.

Qualifying Health Conditions:

There are a few medical requirements for patients to be qualified for a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts. Licensed physicians must diagnose the patient with a “debilitating medical condition” which includes (but are not limited to):

  • ALS

  • Anorexia

  • Anxiety/Depression

  • Cachexia

  • Cancer

  • Crohn’s Disease

  • Epilepsy

  • Glaucoma

  • Hepatitis C


  • Hodgkin Lymphoma

  • Insomnia

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Parkinson’s Disease

  • PTSD

  • Sarcoma

  • Seizures or muscle spasms

  • Severe nausea

Applying to Become a Medical Marijuana Patient in Massachusetts:

If you have a qualifying health condition and have received a certification from a licensed physician, you can begin collecting documents to help with the application process including a Massachusetts photo ID, photo of yourself, etc. From there, you must register online with the DPH. There is no registration fee for medical marijuana patients in Massachusetts.

Find a Doctor:

As mentioned earlier, a licensed physician must certify patients before applying online. Current rules state that a patient must have a “bona fide physician-patient relationship or a bona fide advanced practice nurse-patient relationship” for a certification to be issued.

Once the physician certifies your condition, submit an application to the DPH.

Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in Massachusetts:

If approved by the program, you’ll receive a temporary ID to print at home. An actual card will take up to two weeks to arrive at your primary residence.

Reciprocity in Massachusetts:

Currently, Massachusetts does not offer reciprocity for out of state medical marijuana cards as it relates to purchasing product at a dispensary. Having said that, they do offer reciprocity regarding possession of medical marijuana within the state of Massachusetts.