Congratulations. You can now legally possess and use cannabis without fear of punishment. No fines, no trying to hide your stash in your crotch if the fuzz shows up. You are legal.
This does not mean you can do whatever you want, or that you immediately have access to dozens of well-lit, clean dispensaries … at least not yet. There is no lab-tested medicine produced in Massachusetts-approved dispensaries just yet. But the application process for dispensaries has begun, and if all goes well, the program seems on-target to see dispensaries up and running, serving patients by spring/summer of next year.
A lot has to go right for that to become reality though.
Technically, until there are open and functioning dispensary/delivery options available, all patients qualify for hardship cultivation. Currently a patient needs to send in information to DPH about their status as a patient (with documentation), where they are cultivating, and that they will adhere to best practices and not participate in diversion.
They will have an official hardship cultivation application available soon, and the original hardship cultivation status will only be valid until the end of the year. Patients will then have to reapply under the formal application requirements.
You can also get a caregiver to grow your cannabis for you. Massachusetts DPH is limiting the caregiver program to one patient per caregiver, and that person cannot make money beyond repayment for hard costs. The caregiver’s time is apparently not a billable cost either, which is absurd, considering how hard it is to cultivate high quality cannabis medicine. Caregivers will also have to officially register by the end of the year.
You can possess up to a reasonable 60 day supply of cannabis, which is currently 10 ounces.
By the end of the year, you will have to pay $50 per year for a registration card. If any of the information you submitted to the Department changes, you will have five days to notify them. So if you move, you have to let them know. You also have to let them know if your card was lost or stolen within five days.
The Department has the right to deny, or revoke, your registration card for a number of reasons, including: failure to provide info, misleading or false info, you do not meet the requirements, you were already denied/revoked in the last six months, failure to pay fees, violation of the Act or regulations, fraudulent use of your card, selling or distributing your medicine to others, tampering or falsifying your card, failure to notify within five days of a change or lost/stolen card, or you put others at risk by using cannabis.
You cannot medicate in public. So it is not like you can fire up in the smoking section at Fenway; maybe someday. For now, it is probably best to use discretion and try to be respectful in your use. No need to piss off all of the people who hate cannabis for one ill-conceived reason or another before the program gets a chance to get going.
You can now use cannabis responsibly as a patient.
This does not mean you can eat a whole tray of medicated brownies and drive a car, or go to work. Use discretion in your use and try not to overdo it.