Caregivers could support more patients under Massachusetts’ refreshed medical cannabis regulations

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Massachusetts has refreshed its medical cannabis regulations to provide patients with greater access to their medicine. However, the decision didn’t come without it’s hurdles. Opposing opinions meant that patients hit loggerheads with a patient advocacy group in regards to what the right approach would be for dispersing medical cannabis in Massachusetts.

Following a public hearing on August 3, officials from the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance (MPAA) objected against the Cannabis Control Commission’s recommendation that would enable caregivers to support up to 10 medical cannabis patients in one go.

Based on the CCC’s plan, the patient to caregiver ratio will be increased 10:1. Ultimately, this will enable caregivers to cultivate a maximum of 500 square feet worth of cannabis.

Increasing support for medical cannabis in Massachusetts to 10 patients is too hefty, say MPAA officials

This could be a “threat to only one group of people, that being the existing brick and mortar dispensaries who do not want patients to have at-cost access to medical cannabis,” according to a patient named Grant Ellis who depends on caregivers. His opinion was shared by the president and executive director of the MPAA, Nichole Snow.

“An arbitrary number of patients per caregiver will likely open the door to a gray market that is indistinguishable from the legally-regulated market you and the staff have worked so hard on developing,” affirmed Snow during a discussion with commissioners.

Contrasting views have emerged among patient advocates, however, with many arguing that caregivers can obtain medical cannabis for a lower overall price thanks to increased support. Consequently, this could ensure that the most vulnerable patient groups are able to access their medication without breaking the bank.

Developments in Massachusetts’ cannabis market signify ever-growing acceptance of the plant

On Tuesday, August 25, Ascend Wellness a cannabis company with a huge footprint in Massachusetts declared its plans to purchase a pair of cannabis stores in Chicago. MOCA Modern Cannabis’ Logan Square store its flagship location will be snapped up by AWH. While approval from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has not yet been given, the Massachusetts cannabis giant intends on broadening its consumer base to the neighboring state. 

With a nascent and quickly flourishing market transpiring in Illinois, this acquisition is sure to draw attention to the quality of bud in Massachusetts’ market and further normalize its consumption. The repercussions could be more investor and patient interest for medical cannabis in Massachusetts; not to mention the budding adult-use sector.