How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Massachusetts (And Why It’s Worth It)
As of this year, recreational cannabis is legal in 21 states, including in Massachusetts where the recreational market opened in 2018. While that’s great news for the cannabis industry and strictly recreational users, many people who had a medical cannabis card stopped renewing it as soon as the state legalized recreational cannabis, thinking the grass was greener on the recreational side.
What they didn’t realize: That switch to recreational cannabis means sacrificing valuable benefits only afforded to medical patients.
So what are the reasons to get or renew a medical card when Massachusetts has adult-use cannabis? And how are industry-leading telemedicine platforms like NuggMD making it easier for patients to meet with medical cannabis physicians from the comfort and privacy of their own home?
Why Getting Your Massachusetts Medical Card Will Be Worth It
Massachusetts med card holders can save hundreds of dollars thanks to avoiding taxes. The state charges high taxes on recreational cannabis purchases—between excise, sale, and local taxes they typically fall between 17% and 20%—but those taxes don’t apply when purchasing medical cannabis. In fact, a medical card can pay for itself after buying just two or three ounces.
Getting a medical cannabis card, on the other hand, is extremely cost-effective. You can receive a medical evaluation and a physician’s recommendation for $99 with NuggMD in Massachusetts, and there’s no fee to register with the state. So, having a medical cannabis card only costs $8.25 per month. Plus, if you’re a med patient, the state legally guarantees product availability, so you never need to worry about your products being out of stock or running low.
If you’re a medical cannabis patient, you may also be able to get cannabis in states that don’t have recreational sales because some states accept out-of-state med cards. You will also enjoy enhanced legal protections in Massachusetts and states with reciprocity.
And, if you’re looking into growing your own cannabis, medical card holders can cultivate up to 12 mature, flowering plants and 12 immature plants in the vegetative stage of growth compared to just six for recreational use.
Ultimately, these benefits mean that medical patients have greater access to higher quality, affordable cannabis from the strains they need most.
Do You Meet the Qualifications for a Medical Card?
Massachusetts has a fairly flexible set of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis use. (A), you must be at least 18 years old, or a minor with an adult caregiver, (B), you must be a legal resident of Massachusetts with proof of residency, and (C), you need a diagnosis from a certified physician.
The state allows physicians to recommend medical cannabis for any condition that the physician deems ‘debilitating,’ which the MA legal code defines as “causing weakness, cachexia, wasting syndrome, intractable pain, or nausea, or impairing strength or ability, and progressing to such an extent that one or more of a patient’s major life activities is substantially limited.”
There are also several conditions, like cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, and MS, that automatically qualify someone for medical cannabis in Massachusetts.
Find a Massachusetts-Licensed Medical Cannabis Doctor
Finding a medical cannabis doctor isn’t always easy because not all doctors are able to recommend medical cannabis. In Massachusetts, only doctors who register as certifying healthcare providers can do so.
Luckily, telemedicine services like NuggMD can help patients connect with a compassionate Massachusetts-licensed physician who understands the potential benefits of medical cannabis.
See the Doctor for an Evaluation Online or in Person
When you meet with your doctor—whether in their office or through telemedicine—it’s a good idea to bring medical records. More records will make it easier for your doctor to make an accurate evaluation.
You should also take the time to speak with your doctor and let them know about any medications you’re on, as well as ask them any questions you may have about medical cannabis. They’ll be able to clear up any concerns.
Massachusetts patients who prefer to meet with a doctor online have several options, starting as low as $99 with NuggMD (it normally costs $160 or more).
If you’re approved, your doctor will enter your information in the state’s database, which will include their recommendation.
Register for Free and Receive Your Certification
After your doctor enters your information in the state database, you’ll receive an email from the state with a unique PIN code that you can use to complete your registration through the state’s online portal. You’ll need your state ID and a passport-style photo.
Massachusetts allows patients to print a temporary medical cannabis ID as soon as they’re approved. The maximum wait time for approval by the state is 60 days, although many users report being approved after just a day.
NuggMD is the nation’s leading medical marijuana technology platform, serving patients in 22 states and growing. They have connected over 1 million patients with their new medical marijuana doctors face-to-face via their state-of-the-art telemedicine platform.
NuggMD believes that every person should have the right to access medical cannabis for their qualifying conditions and are fully committed to helping each patient explore all treatment options for their health and wellbeing.
For more information, visit NuggMD.com/Massachusetts.
This is a paid partnership between NuggMD and Boston Magazine's City/Studio