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Massachusetts DPH Proposes New Rules for Medical Marijuana Program

MA Medical Marijuana Program

A recently proposed overhaul of the Massachusetts medical marijuana program would allow for nurse practitioners to complete recommendations for medical marijuana certifications and for dispensaries to show product price on their websites. These new guidelines were proposed by the Department of Public Health (DPH) to the Public Health Council.

After the first three years of the program proving to be challenging for patients and lawmakers, according to WWLP, changes are needed. Given that there were only 167 registered doctors and nearly 30,000 active medical marijuana patients in the program, these expansions were deemed essential.

Additional provisions that may become realities are that healthcare providers may be able to certify patients for less than 10-ounces for a 60-day supply, according to reports. Provisions requiring background checks for dispensary agents may also be part of the changes in the program.

Currently, there are only seven dispensaries in Massachusetts. Regulatory changes to their operations –  such as maintaining a required policy for handling cash, and using motion-detection cameras that record to provide safer facilities – may also be put into effect.

The changes are also an attempt to make dispensaries more transparent, have better labeling procedures, and better security for dispensary agents. There has been an ongoing regulatory review and reform process, which is now seeing that action has to be taken to improve the program. The process was an executive order from Governor Charlie Baker.

The Department of Public Health said, “They embody common sense reforms to simplify and clarify the regulation and emphasize the program’s ongoing goal of being transparent, streamlined, and efficient.”

The DPH will hold a public hearing before returning to the Public Health Council to request to publicize all the proposed regulations.