MPAA advocated alongside many patients and other advocates for several years to eliminate the annual $50 patient registration fee instituted by the Department of Public Health and continued by the Cannabis Control Commission. On November 1st, 2019 the many years of hard work finally paid off when the Cannabis Control Commission acted to eliminate the fee for all patients. Since then, qualifying patients have been able to receive and maintain their patient registration without paying a fee to the Cannabis Control Commission.
Our organization helped craft amendment #63 to Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017 which created instant access to patient registrations for Massachusetts medical marijuana patients. The amendment was filed by former Representative Frank Smizik. On July 1, 2019 the policy was implemented by the Cannabis Control Commission giving patients access to a 14-day temporary card immediately upon certification by a healthcare provider. Because of this change to the law patients no longer face delays in having their registration processed and can access medical marijuana on the same day they are certified.
MPAA led the effort encouraging the Cannabis Control Commission to develop a patient supply safety net to ensure that access to a sufficient quantity and variety of cannabis strains and other products would remain available for patients at medical dispensaries that started to sell recreational cannabis at the same location. The Commission adopted a regulation prior to the roll out of adult-use cannabis sales that required co-located dispensaries to reserve at least 35% their supply for patients during their first six months of sales. This was a first of its kind protection for patient supply in the country and helped to prevent shortages for patients in Massachusetts.
Our organization recommended policies to ensure that patients always receive priority treatment at co-located marijuana establishments. Not only do patients have supply protections, patients are also prioritized in many ways inside and outside of dispensaries that sell both medical and adult-use cannabis. Registered patients have reported experiencing dedicated patient parking spaces, prioritized entry to the sales floor, a dedicated line for patients, and access to all products at a co-located marijuana establishment.