THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
ONE ASHBURTON PLACE
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS 02108
Initiative Petition for a Law for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana
We, the undersigned registered voters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
submit this initiative petition pursuant to Amendment Article 48 of the Massachusetts
Be it enacted by the people and by their authority,
Section 1. Purpose and Intent.
The citizens of Massachusetts intend that there should be no punishment under state
law for qualifying patients, physicians and health care professionals, personal
caregivers for patients, or medical marijuana treatment center agents for the
medical use of marijuana, as defined herein.
Section 2. As used in this Law, the following words shall, unless the context clearly
requires otherwise, have the following meanings:
(A) “Card holder” shall mean a qualifying patient, a personal caregiver, or a
dispensary agent of a medical marijuana treatment center who has been issued and
possesses a valid registration card.
(B) “Cultivation registration” shall mean a registration issued to a medical marijuana
treatment center for growing marijuana for medical use under the terms of this Act,
or to a qualified patient or personal caregiver under the terms of Section 11.
(C) “Debilitating medical condition” shall mean:
Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired
immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
(ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other conditions
as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician.
(D) “Department” shall mean the Department of Public Health of the Commonwealth
(E) “Dispensary agent” shall mean an employee, staff volunteer, officer, or board
member of a non-profit medical marijuana treatment center, who shall be at least
twenty-one (21) years of age.
(F) “Enclosed, locked facility” shall mean a closet, room, greenhouse, or other area
equipped with locks or other security devices, accessible only to dispensary agents,
patients, or personal caregivers.
(G) “Marijuana,” has the meaning given “marihuana” in Chapter 94C of the General
(H) “Medical marijuana treatment center” shall mean a not-for-profit entity, as
defined by Massachusetts law only, registered under this law, that acquires,
cultivates, possesses, processes (including development of related products such as
food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfers, transports, sells, distributes,
dispenses, or administers marijuana, products containing marijuana, related
supplies, or educational materials to qualifying patients or their personal caregivers.I) “Medical use of marijuana” shall mean the acquisition, cultivation, possession,
processing, (including development of related products such as food, tinctures,
aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfer, transportation, sale, distribution, dispensing,
or administration of marijuana, for the benefit of qualifying patients in the treatment
of debilitating medical conditions, or the symptoms thereof.
(J) “Personal caregiver” shall mean a person who is at least twenty-one (21) years
old who has agreed to assist with a qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana.
Personal caregivers are prohibited from consuming marijuana obtained for the
personal, medical use of the qualifying patient.
An employee of a hospice provider, nursing, or medical facility providing care to a
qualifying patient may also serve as a personal caregiver.
(K) “Qualifying patient” shall mean a person who has been diagnosed by a licensed
physician as having a debilitating medical condition.
(L) “Registration card” shall mean a personal identification card issued by the
Department to a qualifying patient, personal caregiver, or dispensary agent. The
registration card shall verify that a physician has provided a written certification to
the qualifying patient, that the patient has designated the individual as a personal
caregiver, or that a medical treatment center has met the terms of Section 9 and
Section 10 of this law. The registration card shall identify for the Department and law
enforcement those individuals who are exempt from Massachusetts criminal and civil
penalties for conduct pursuant to the medical use of marijuana.
(M) “Sixty-day supply” means that amount of marijuana that a qualifying patient
would reasonably be expected to need over a period of sixty days for their personal
(N) “Written certification” means a document signed by a licensed physician, stating
that in the physician’s professional opinion, the potential benefits of the medical use
of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the qualifying patient. Such
certification shall be made only in the course of a bona fide physician-patient
relationship and shall specify the qualifying patient’s debilitating medical
Section 3. Protection from State Prosecution and Penalties for Health Care
A physician, and other health care professionals under a physician’s supervision,
shall not be penalized under Massachusetts law, in any manner, or denied any right
or privilege, for:
(a) Advising a qualifying patient about the risks and benefits of medical use of
(b) Providing a qualifying patient with written certification, based upon a full
assessment of the qualifying patient’s medical history and condition, that the medical
use of marijuana may benefit a particular qualifying patient.
Section 4. Protection From State Prosecution and Penalties for Qualifying Patients
and Personal Caregiversny person meeting the requirements under this law shall not be penalized under
Massachusetts law in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, for such actions.
A qualifying patient or a personal caregiver shall not be subject to arrest or
prosecution, or civil penalty, for the medical use of marijuana provided he or she:
(a) Possesses no more marijuana than is necessary for the patient’s personal,
medical use, not exceeding the amount necessary for a sixty-day supply; and
(b) Presents his or her registration card to any law enforcement official who
questions the patient or caregiver regarding use of marijuana.
Section 5. Protection From State Prosecution and Penalties for Dispensary Agents.
A dispensary agent shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or civil penalty, under
Massachusetts law, for actions taken under the authority of a medical marijuana
treatment center, provided he or she:
(a) Presents his or her registration card to any law enforcement official who
questions the agent concerning their marijuana related activities; and
(b) Is acting in accordance with all the requirements of this law.
Section 6. Protection Against Forfeiture and Arrest
(A) The lawful possession, cultivation, transfer, transport, distribution, or
manufacture of medical marijuana as authorized by this law shall not result in the
forfeiture or seizure of any property.
(B) No person shall be arrested or prosecuted for any criminal offense solely for
being in the presence of medical marijuana or its use as authorized by this law.
Section 7. Limitations of Law
(A) Nothing in this law allows the operation of a motor vehicle, boat, or aircraft while
under the influence of marijuana.
(B) Nothing in this law requires any health insurance provider, or any government
agency or authority, to reimburse any person for the expenses of the medical use of
(C) Nothing in this law requires any health care professional to authorize the use of
medical marijuana for a patient.
(D) Nothing in this law requires any accommodation of any on-site medical use of
marijuana in any place of employment, school bus or on school grounds, in any
youth center, in any correctional facility, or of smoking medical marijuana in any
(E) Nothing in this law supersedes Massachusetts law prohibiting the possession,
cultivation, transport, distribution, or sale of marijuana for nonmedical purposes.
(F) Nothing in this law requires the violation of federal law or purports to give
immunity under federal law.
(G) Nothing in this law poses an obstacle to federal enforcement of federal law.ection 8. Department to define presumptive 60-day supply for qualifying patients.
Within 120 days of the effective date of this law, the department shall issue
regulations defining the quantity of marijuana that could reasonably be presumed to
be a sixty-day supply for qualifying patients, based on the best available evidence.
This presumption as to quantity may be overcome with evidence of a particular
qualifying patient’s appropriate medical use.
Section 9. Registration of nonprofit medical marijuana treatment centers.
(A) Medical marijuana treatment centers shall register with the department.
(B) Not later than ninety days after receiving an application for a nonprofit medical
marijuana treatment center, the department shall register the nonprofit medical
marijuana treatment center to acquire, process, possess, transfer, transport, sell,
distribute, dispense, and administer marijuana for medical use, and shall also issue
a cultivation registration if:
1. The prospective nonprofit medical marijuana treatment center has submitted:
(a) An application fee in an amount to be determined by the department consistent
with Section 13 of this law.
(b) An application, including:
(i) The legal name and physical address of the treatment center and the physical
address of one additional location, if any, where marijuana will be cultivated.
(ii) The name, address and date of birth of each principal officer and board member.
(c) Operating procedures consistent with department rules for oversight, including
cultivation and storage of marijuana only in enclosed, locked facilities.
2. None of the principal officers or board members has served as a principal officer
or board member for a medical marijuana treatment center that has had its
registration certificate revoked.
(C) In the first year after the effective date, the Department shall issue registrations
for up to thirty-five non-profit medical marijuana treatment centers, provided that at
least one treatment center shall be located in each county, and not more than five
shall be located in any one county. In the event the Department determines in a
future year that the number of treatment centers is insufficient to meet patient
needs, the Department shall have the power to increase or modify the number of
registered treatment centers.
(D) A medical treatment center registered under this section, and its dispensary
agents registered under Section 10, shall not be penalized or arrested under
Massachusetts law for acquiring, possessing, cultivating, processing, transferring,
transporting, selling, distributing, and dispensing marijuana, products containing
marijuana, and related supplies and educational materials, to qualifying patients or
their personal caregivers.ection 10. Registration of medical treatment center dispensary agents.
(A) A dispensary agent shall be registered with the Department before
volunteering or working at a medical marijuana treatment center.
(B) A treatment center must apply to the Department for a registration card for each
affiliated dispensary agent by submitting the name, address and date of birth of the
(C) A registered nonprofit medical marijuana treatment center shall notify the
department within one business day if a dispensary agent ceases to be associated
with the center, and the agent’s registration card shall be immediately revoked.
(D) No one shall be a dispensary agent who has been convicted of a felony drug
offense. The Department is authorized to conduct criminal record checks with the
Department of Criminal Justice Information to enforce this provision.
Section 11. Hardship Cultivation Registrations.
The Department shall issue a cultivation registration to a qualifying patient whose
access to a medical treatment center is limited by verified financial hardship, a
physical incapacity to access reasonable transportation, or the lack of a treatment
center within a reasonable distance of the patient’s residence. The Department may
deny a registration based on the provision of false information by the applicant.
Such registration shall allow the patient or the patient’s personal caregiver to
cultivate a limited number of plants, sufficient to maintain a 60-day supply of
marijuana, and shall require cultivation and storage only in an enclosed, locked
The department shall issue regulations consistent with this section within 120 days of
the effective date of this law. Until the department issues such final regulations, the
written recommendation of a qualifying patient’s physician shall constitute a limited
Section 12. Medical marijuana registration cards for qualifying patients and
(A) A qualifying patient may apply to the department for a medical marijuana
registration card by submitting:
1. Written certification from a physician.
2. An application, including:
(a) Name, address unless homeless, and date of birth.
(b) Name, address and date of birth of the qualifying patient’s personal caregiver, if
Section 13. Department implementation of Regulations and Fees.
Within 120 days of the effective date of this law, the department shall issue
regulations for the implementation of Sections 9 through 12 of this Law. The
department shall set application fees for non-profit medical marijuana treatment
centers so as to defray the administrative costs of the medical marijuana program
and thereby make this law revenue neutral. ntil the approval of final regulations, written certification by a physician shall
constitute a registration card for a qualifying patient. Until the approval of final
regulations, a certified mail return receipt showing compliance with Section 12 (A)
(2) (b) above by a qualifying patient, and a photocopy of the application, shall
constitute a registration card for that patient’s personal caregiver.
Section 14. Penalties for Fraudulent Acts.
(A) The department, after a hearing, may revoke any registration card issued under
this law for a willful violation of this law. The standard of proof for revocation shall be
a preponderance of the evidence. A revocation decision shall be reviewable in the
(B) The fraudulent use of a medical marijuana registration card or cultivation
registration shall be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in the house of
correction, or a fine up to $500, but if such fraudulent use is for the distribution,
sale, or trafficking of marijuana for non-medical use for profit it shall be a felony
punishable by up to 5 years in state prison or up to two and one half years in the
house of correction.
Section 15. Confidentiality
The department shall maintain a confidential list of the persons issued medical
marijuana registration cards. Individual names and other identifying information on
the list shall be exempt from the provisions of Massachusetts Public Records Law,
M.G.L. Chapter 66, section 10, and not subject to disclosure, except to employees of
the department in the course of their official duties and to Massachusetts law
enforcement officials when verifying a card holder’s registration.
Section 16. Effective Date.
This law shall be effective January 1, 2013.
Section 17. Severability.
The provisions of this law are severable and if any clause, sentence, paragraph or
section of this measure, or an application thereof, shall be adjudged by any court of
competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair, or
invalidate the remainder thereof but shall be confined in its operation to the clause,
sentence, paragraph, section or application adjudged invalid.
We, the Undersigned registered voters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
having read the full text of the foregoing proposed law, do fully subscribe to its
content and agree to be among the original signers of the Petition.