Now that the state of Massachusetts has finalized its regulations governing the sale of medical marijuana, it’s important to understand the definitions If you are interested in the use of medical pot, or the legal infrastructure around it’s availability, it requires a bit of reading. The good news is that the state seems to have done a reasonably thorough job of mapping out the path to medical marijuana in Massachusetts.
Here’s a review of some of the Department of Public Health’s basic regulatory definitions (set forth in 105 CMR 725.004) for medical marijuana in Massachusetts. While the Commonwealth has decriminalized small amounts of weed, if you possess more than 1oz and don’t have legitimate medical access, you could face criminal drug possession charges.
Key Regulatory Definitions/Acronyms
- Certifying Physician. This refers to a “Massachusetts licensed physician (Medical Doctor or Doctor of Osteopathy) who certifies that in his or her opinion, the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for a qualifying patient;”
- Debilitating Medical Condition. This includes “cancer, glaucoma . . . MS . . . when such diseases are debilitating, and other debilitating conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s certifying physician;”
- Life-Limiting Illness. This is a “debilitating medical condition that does not respond to curative treatments, where reasonable estimates of prognosis suggests death may occur within two years;”
- Marijuana-Infused Product (MIP). This is a product “infused with marijuana that is intended for use or consumption . . . [that includes] eligible products, ointments, aerosols, oils, and tinctures. This definition adds that when these products are “created or sold by an RMD, [they] shall not be considered a food or drug as defined in M.G.L. c.94, s.1.”
- Medical Marijuana Treatment Center. This place is referenced as a “not-for-profit entity registered under 105 CMR 100, to be known as a registered marijuana dispensary (RMD), that acquires, cultivates, possesses . . . transfers, transports, sells . . . [a variety of marijuana products, supplies, and educational materials] to registered qualifying patients or their personal caregivers.” This definition concludes by stating that an RMD is basically the “site(s) of dispensing, cultivation and preparation of marijuana;”
- Qualifying Patient. This first part of this definition refers to Massachusetts residents 18 years of age or older who have “been diagnosed by a Massachusetts licensed certifying physician as having a debilitating medical condition . . .” As it concludes, this section explains how a Massachusetts resident under the age of 18 can qualify to receive medical marijuana due to a “debilitating medical condition, that is also a life-limiting illness . . .”
- Registered Qualifying Patient. This refers to a qualifying patient “who has applied for and received a registration card from the Department.” (Note: Elsewhere in the definitions, it’s noted that “the Department” refers only to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.)
- Sixty-Day Supply. This term indicates the “amount of marijuana, or equivalent amount of marijuana in MIPs, that a registered qualifying patient would reasonably be expected to need over a period of 60 calendar days for his or her personal medical use, which is ten (10) ounces, subject to 105 CMR 725.010 (I).
Readers may also want to look up such other new medical marijuana regulatory definitions as “personal caregiver, written certification, verified financial hardship and bona fide physician-patient relationship.” All of these basic regulatory definitions and other can be reviewed in their entirety by “clicking on” this final link.
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