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Medical Marijuana Permits

In November 2012, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot question legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The law allows individuals who are certified by their physician as having a debilitating medical condition to use and possess up to a 60-day supply of medical marijuana. A debilitating medical condition is further defined as "HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, Hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn's Disease, Parkinson's, MS and other conditions as determined by a physician."  A 60-day supply has been determined by state regulation to be 10 ounces.  ​

To register, a patient must obtain a letter from his/her physician and submit an application to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  More details on the patient registration process are available here. Patients may designate a caregiver to help them use medical marijuana. Caregivers must be 21 years old and may buy, grow and assist patients in using medical marijuana. 

The law allows medical marijuana to be sold through Registered Marijuana Dispensaries (RMDs), which are also under the purview of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH). The maximum allowed by law at this time is 35, with a maximum of 5 in each county.  On June 27, 2014, MDPH announced the 11 RMD applicants that completed Phases 1 and 2 and the Verification Phase and will advance to the Inspection Phase. In addition, five applicants were deemed eligible to apply for RMDs in counties that don't currently have a dispensary.  

Once approved by the state, RMDs in Boston will need to go through a local permitting process. In addition to zoning relief and building permits, RMDs will need to apply for a permit from the Environmental & Occupational Health Division (EOH) at BPHC.  

More Information

Do you have questions about permits? Contact the EOH at 617-534-5965 or

Do you want to know more about the health effects associated with marijuana use? Visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's website.
Do you want to get resources or support around marijuana or other substance use? Call Boston 311.
Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: