How to Become a Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Caregiver

how to become a massachusetts medical marijuana caregiver imageHow to Become a Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Caregiver

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.

22 Comments
  1. Please notify me when I can receive information about when I can become a medical marijuana particapant

  2. I am interested in becoming a caregiver. Can you please send me information on my next step in the process of becoming a caregiver?
    Thankyou,
    Kris

  3. I’m interested in becoming a care giver. Can you please send me information on my next step for the process of becoming a caregiver?

    • Hello Lou,

      To become a caregiver for another, they need to become a certified patient and need to designate you as their caregiver. They must send a certified mail, return receipt letter to the Department of Public Health doing so. The details are in Question 3 passed by the voters last November. I have drafted a form letter they can use to designate you. You can find it on my forms page. I have also written step by step instructions for becoming a caregiver.

      A great resource for caregivers in Massachusetts is, Compassionate Caregivers of Massachusetts. If you still have questions and would like to meet my consultation fee is $250.00. I will discuss state and federal law with you, and answer all of your questions. We will also begin an attorney client relationship, and I will store all of your medical marijuana documentation in a secure online database.

      All the best,

      -Valerio

  4. please can you help me the the prosses its very cumbersome could you send me a packet

  5. Hello,
    My father is currently a MA Medical Marijuana user with a certificate. He would like me to be his caregiver but I currently reside in NH. Is it possible to be his caregiver although I do not live in MA, and would I be able to grow for him in the state of NH or MA?

    • My belief is that the DPH will not register you as a personal caregiver if you reside out of state. The law is specific to the Commonwealth and does not provide immunity or any benefits outside of Massachusetts. All the best to your father.

  6. Hello, I want to become a caretaker for my mother. I believe we qualify for financial hardship, but I am unclear on what is considered financial hardship. Could you possibly give me some concrete standards for this? Thank you, appreciate all the work you are doing!

  7. im looking to become a caregiver. im also a patient w/ kidney cancer that spread to my lungs. im not sure what the future holds.but id like to help a patient while helping myself.
    .

    • going through immune treatment w/ interlukin 2.
      very sick right now. looking for quality meds. need a caregiver.

  8. Hi,

    I have experience in the MMJ industry in both California and Colorado and have been a care giver in Colorado. I am returning to Massachusetts and am interested in becoming a caregiver. I do not want to jeopardize my standing as a registered Nurse. Do you think being a caregiver would be grounds for suspension or worse? I think it is important to know I no longer use myself.

  9. how many patients can I have as a care giver?

  10. please contact me im very interested in becoming a grower/caregiver
    there is so much info on this im looking for some guidance.

    • Here is some information about becoming a caregiver. Understand that you can only be a caregiver for one patient, and can’t make any money from them.

      You may be aware that the Department of Public Health (DPH) issued final regulations for the Massachusetts medical marijuana program on May 24th, 2013. A link to the regulations is below.

      The DPH has said that, “DPH will not begin registering patients and caregivers until it completes development of an online registration system, at a date to be announced later in 2014. DPH will notify the public well in advance on its medical marijuana website, http://www.mass.gov/medicalmarijuana, when this online registration system is operational and must be used.” http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/hcq/medical-marijuana/patients-and-caregivers.html

      The law passed by the voters (https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2012/Chapter369)
      requires patients to designate caregivers, and it would be prudent to comply with that law, despite what the DPH is expressing.

      With regard to your question about becoming a caregiver, you may refer to sections 725.020 and 725.025 of the regulations.

      However, until the DPH implements the program (date yet unknown), “qualifying patients may register their personal caregivers by sending a letter to DPH containing certain required information.” However, please be aware that a caregiver may only serve one patient at a time and may only be reimbursed for reasonable out of pocket expenses.

      Visit the fact sheet and the main page for the Massachusetts medical marijuana program for more information (links below).

      You may read the final Massachusetts medical marijuana regulations here: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/regs/105cmr725.pdf

      The DPH released a fact sheet (FAQ) which might answer your specific question. It can be found here (last updated 11/20/2013):
      http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/quality/drugcontrol/medical-marijuana/medical-marijuana-faq.pdf

      Visit the main page for the Massachusetts medical marijuana program. The DPH regularly updates this webpage.
      http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/hcq/medical-marijuana/

      You do not need a lawyer for this process, but if you would like to schedule an appointment, our consultation fee is $250.00. For that fee we will discuss state and federal law with you, answer all of your questions and supply you with caregiver registration application letters that we drafted to send to the DPH to become fully compliant under Massachusetts law as a personal caregiver.

      All the best,

      Valerio Romano

      Disclaimer: This information is not intended to dispense legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between any member of VGR Law Firm and any recipient of this email.

  11. Hi! I’d love to become a caregiver, but I was wondering if I can still become one when dispensaries are opened in town? I’d give cheaper, quality medicine, and transportation. I was also wondering how many patients I could acquire? And would there be a contract between us, so I wouldn’t be screwed with an over abundance of medical marijuana? Aaand, could I sell my medicine to dispensaries? Please respond, as I cannot find further information. Thank you!! :)

  12. Hi! I’d love to become a caregiver, but I was wondering if I can still become one when dispensaries are opened in town? I’d give cheaper, quality medicine, and transportation. I was also wondering how many patients I could acquire? And would there be a contract between us, so I wouldn’t be screwed with an over abundance of medical marijuana? Aaand, could I sell my medicine to dispensaries? Please respond, as I cannot find further information. Thank you!! :) sincerely, Andrew.

    • Hello Andrew:

      If there is a dispensary open in your town it is unlikely that the Department of Public Health will renew your caregiver registration. Following the regulations you may only have 1 patient and may only be reimbursed for reasonable out of pocket expenses. You will not be able to sell marijuana to dispensaries.

      Here is some more information on becoming a caregiver:

      You may be aware that the Department of Public Health (DPH) issued final regulations for the Massachusetts medical marijuana program on May 24th, 2013. A link to the regulations is below.

      The DPH has said that, “DPH will not begin registering patients and caregivers until it completes development of an online registration system, at a date to be announced later in 2014. DPH will notify the public well in advance on its medical marijuana website, http://www.mass.gov/medicalmarijuana, when this online registration system is operational and must be used.” http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/hcq/medical-marijuana/patients-and-caregivers.html

      You should check back on that page often.

      The law passed by the voters (https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2012/Chapter369) requires patients to designate caregivers.

      With regard to your question about becoming a caregiver, you may refer to sections 725.020 and 725.025 of the regulations.

      However, until the DPH implements the program (date yet unknown), “qualifying patients may register their personal caregivers by sending a letter to DPH containing certain required information.” However, please be aware that a caregiver may only serve one patient at a time and may only be reimbursed for reasonable out of pocket expenses.

      Visit the fact sheet and the main page for the Massachusetts medical marijuana program for more information (links below).

      You may read the final Massachusetts medical marijuana regulations here: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/regs/105cmr725.pdf

      The DPH released a fact sheet (FAQ) which might answer your specific question. It can be found here (last updated 11/20/2013):
      http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/quality/drugcontrol/medical-marijuana/medical-marijuana-faq.pdf

      Visit the main page for the Massachusetts medical marijuana program. The DPH regularly updates this webpage.
      http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/hcq/medical-marijuana/

      You do not need a lawyer for this process. If you would like to schedule an appointment, our consultation fee is $250.00. For that fee we will discuss state and federal law with you, answer all of your questions and supply you with caregiver registration application letters that we drafted to send to the DPH to become fully compliant under Massachusetts law as a personal caregiver. In the near future the DPH will be registering caregivers via an online system that is in development, so a written application will be unnecessary. The reason to send one now is to make sure you are in compliance with the law now, despite what it says on the DPH website.

  13. So how can I provide legal medical cannabis? I wanna grow legally, not necessarily all for profit. To help patients!

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