Like the constant queries about becoming a patient, people frequently email and call me with questions, asking how to become a Massachusetts medical marijuana caregiver for others. Just like becoming a patient and obtaining a medical marijuana card, it is not complicated.
Step 1: the patient needs to be certified for the medicinal use of marijuana. This means they need to speak with their doctor, and obtain a written certification. At a minimum the certification needs to be signed by a licensed doctor, stating that the doctor believes that potential benefits of medical marijuana likely outweigh any possible harm, and the certification must state the patient’s debilitating medical condition.
Step 2: the patient needs to designate the caregiver as their personal caregiver by sending a letter/application to the Department of Public Health. You must be 21 years old to act as a caregiver. The letter must state the patient’s name, address (unless homeless) and date of birth. The patient must attach the written certification from the patient’s doctor to the letter/certification. It must designate the caregiver by stating the name, address and date of birth of the caregiver the patient wishes to designate. Although the law doesn’t specify, the patient should sign the letter/application if able. Make copies of the doctor’s certification and the letter/application. Send copies of the letter/application and the doctor’s certification to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 250 Washington Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02108. Make sure it is sent certified mail with a return receipt.
Step 3: the patient and caregiver should each have their own copies of the doctor’s certification, the letter/application and the return receipt in one package. These documents will be the caregiver’s registration card until the DPH issues them. Whenever the caregiver is in possession of medical cannabis, they should also be in possession of these documents.
Step 4: if the personal caregiver will be cultivating medical cannabis for their patient(s), they should also affix a set of these documents to the wall of the locked area where the cannabis will be grown. The documents should be immediately visible to anyone who enters that room. That way there will be no question that it is a medical marijuana grow. This is particularly important if law enforcement enter the area.
What does this entitle the caregiver to do? According to the law in Massachusetts a caregiver can provide medical marijuana to the patients who designate them. They can transport it to the patient, they can cultivate it for the patient, and they can process into foods and other products that contain medical marijuana for the patient. A look at other New England laws, and at the legislative bills that never passed in Massachusetts lead one to the conclusion that a caregiver may not act as such to more than five patients. Undoubtedly the DPH will issue this as a regulation when they are through drafting them.
Any amount of Marijuana is illegal under federal law, even for qualified patients who have been certified by their doctor and their caregivers.
Go to our forms page for a Physician Certification Form, and a Designation Form to send to the Department of Public Health.
If after reading this article you are still confused, contact us and set up a consultation. We will discuss the law with you, answer all your questions, and provide you with the forms you need.
That’s it! Now you know how to become a Massachusetts medical marijuana caregiver. Please post here if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.