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The narrow federal protection cited above is the reason that the new Massachusetts law sets up a structure which limits the role of physicians to providing the DPH with a written certification of potential patient benefit from marijuana. This will allow a patient to obtain a state issued registration card and obtain marijuana from a dispensary.

This system means that the physician is not writing a prescription or directly referring a patient to a source of marijuana, and is consistent with Conant v. These remain federally prohibited. However, the Obama administration has indicated that it will not pursue legal action in any state in which medical marijuana has been legalized.

The new state law requires a bona fide physician-patient relationship prior to writing a certification for a patient. The regulations require that a patient must not only have one of the diseases included in the referendum but also must suffer debilitating symptoms. The regulations provide broad physician discretion allowed in the certification process which, in other states, has led to abuses and threaten the integrity of the entire process. The adopted regulations expanded the draft regulations regarding access to marijuana by minors during the last six months of life.

The scientific evidence is clear that marijuana use by children is dangerous, as studies have found toxic effects on the still-developing brains of young people. Specifically in the law there is a statement that physicians are not required to participate in certifying patients.

Physicians concerned about accusations of discrimination from advocates for not participating in the program should be assured by the specific protection for non-participating physicians in the law, as well as in the general standard of care for physicians which requires them not to participate in clinical evaluations and treatments which are beyond or inconsistent with their skills, knowledge and training. The Board of Registration in Medicine has clear authority for conduct in disciplining physicians for unprofessional behavior, but the Department of Public Health DPH has also reserved for itself the right to require certifying physicians to register with the Department and to revoke such registrations if physicians commit fraud in certifying patients or submit certifications without having engaged in the required CME programs.

While disciplinary processes and implications for the Board of Medicine are well established, the mechanism by which the DPH would conduct such a process is unclear, as are the implications for physicians regarding the national practitioner databank, physician licensing here and in other states and credentialing for participation in insurance and public payment systems should the DPH revoke a registration. The DPH does not plan to charge physicians for registering as certifiers.

The law sets a sixty day supply for a patient a ten ounces. There is no clinical evidence supporting this level of consumption and some addiction medicine sources would find serious abuse in a recreational user consuming an ounce in a month. One option is for physicians to certify patients for a lesser period. For example, a 15 day certification would allow one time dispensing of no more than 2. In contrast, a patient certified for a full year would, without limitation, be allowed up to ten ounces every 60 days for a total annual purchase of 3.

Certifications for short periods would not protect patients for possession of marijuana charges after the period expires.

Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Law: Considerations for Physicians

Physicians may specify more than 10 ounces to be dispensed but may not specify less through any measure other than the time limits. Given the significant cost per ounce and the effects of consumption, legitimate patients are unlikely to take full advantage of their option to buy ten ounces for personal use. Physicians interested in certifying an individual patient should carefully review the liability coverage and policies of the group, facility or setting in which they practice. Physicians practicing in sites which specialize in marijuana assessments should carefully review the regulations and their professional liability policies, to ensure they are practicing within the law and within their liability coverage which is required as a condition of practice.

Practices that are exclusively certification sites may be operating inconsistently with the regulations, particularly in the area of the physician-patient relationship. The program or a similar database , which holds data on all schedule II-V prescriptions, will record on marijuana certifications and dispensing. Prior felony convictions, as well as other drug-related charges, may disqualify you from being able to obtain an operating license.

Seek training on growing marijuana , or hire an expert. Unless you are already an expert in the cultivation of marijuana, you will probably want to seek expert advice. Seasonal weather patterns and even the daily amount of sunlight can also affect your plants. You should thoroughly research the risks and necessary techniques for cultivating marijuana.

A lawyer will also be able to help you secure the appropriate permits and licenses, and make sure you are in full compliance with all city, county, and state regulations. Part 1 Quiz What risk do you face when opening a medical marijuana dispensary? You may be a target for theft.

You may struggle to hire employees. You may face social stigmas. All of the above.


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Prepare a business plan. Depending on the regulations in your area, you may choose to establish your business as a single proprietorship or as a corporation, or you may wish to form a collective or cooperative. In some areas, only collectives or cooperatives are legal.

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Small Business Administration offers a website full of resources and information on writing a business plan. Secure the necessary funding. If the regulations in your area allow for it, you can also minimize your risk by investing with partners. A CPA can help you navigate the financial side of your business. A CPA will know how to file the appropriate tax forms and can also manage your overall finances, including payroll.

Because marijuana dispensaries are still technically illegal at the federal level, they run a higher risk of being audited by the IRS. Buy or rent a suitable place. Because dispensaries are a high-risk if often high-profit investment, many people prefer to rent property before buying. If you are renting, disclose that you plan to operate a dispensary on the property.


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Keep all local ordinances in mind when looking for a property. These will help you determine what location will receive optimal traffic for your dispensary.

Medical marijuana in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Part 2 Quiz Why are marijuana dispensaries at a higher risk of being audited? They are illegal at the federal level. They tend to be renter's businesses. They are riskier businesses to open and maintain. Maintain a respectable image. Operate a clean, well-lit store with friendly and knowledgeable customer service. Hire security guards to keep loiterers and thieves away and provide patients with a sense of security. Network with local government and police offices.

Let them know you have no criminal intentions and that you are a respectable, community-minded small-business owner. Many traditional media outlets, such as Facebook and Google, do not allow marijuana-based businesses to advertise with them. There are hundreds of varieties of marijuana and a wide variety of ways to consume it, including smoking, edible products such as brownies and dried flowers, and oils.

Massachusetts Medical Society: Medical Marijuana and Workplace Law

While there aren't many wide-scale, rigorously scientific studies available about what types and forms of marijuana are best for which conditions [19] , your customers may have preferences or may have been told to find a certain type by their physician. Conducting some market research by doing surveys will help you stock the products your customers want the most of. This information will help protect you in the event that you encounter legal trouble. Be aware that health insurance does not cover medical marijuana.

No health insurance company in the United States currently covers medical marijuana, so patients must pay out-of-pocket. Part 3 Quiz Health insurance in the United States does not cover medical marijuana, which means: You will need to be in touch with doctors directly. You will need to price your product to the market. You need to market your business more creatively. You can rent it. Just make sure the owner knows what it's used for, or there may be issues. Not Helpful 2 Helpful No, in most cases, you can rent it instead.

Just the landlord know that you are using the property as a dispensary. Not Helpful 4 Helpful Can I buy marijuana in California and have it shipped to a Florida dispensary? Marijuana is still federally illegal, so you can't do this. It's not legal to transfer it from state to state. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 4. No, you do not need a business degree, though it certainly doesn't hurt. Not Helpful 2 Helpful 8. How long does it take for a dispensary to issue a license in Washington State? It can take as long as years for a dispensary to issue a license. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 2.

Not as of yet. The Alberta government has not come out with their plan in regards to how legal recreational marijuana will be dispensed. Most likely they will allow it to be sold by independent, non-government retail stores. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 1. Don't forget side costs, like insurance, lawyers, refurbishment, etc. Not Helpful 2 Helpful 1. Yes, but you'll have to buy your product from a licensed grower. Make sure all transactions between you and your grower are documented in case of legal trouble. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 0. What are the rules and laws on starting a grow house?

Answer this question Flag as What does a seller's permit and dispensary license cost?


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  5. How long does it take for California to issue a medical marijuana license? Can I operate a marijuana dispensary in South Africa? Can I operate an online business only, representing large, licensed producers of marijuana? Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Already answered Not a question Bad question Other. By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube. Tips There are many firms that offer consulting services to people looking to start a medical marijuana dispensary.

    Do some research online to find a reputable firm in your area. This means that the sale, possession, and use of marijuana is still illegal under federal law, regardless of what state laws say.