A medical marijuana (MMJ), caregiver, provides healthcare assistance to a qualified MMJ patient by helping them obtain and administer marijuana treatments. Becoming a caregiver is particularly important for those administering care to patients who can not manage their treatment, such as parents whose children need marijuana for medicinal purposes, or for those providing care for seriously ill patients.
If you want to learn how to become a medical marijuana caregiver, our team at Revolutionary Clinics is happy to help you. We are passionate about helping Massachusetts residents become caregivers because we want your loved ones to have access to the medical treatments they need.
Here are a few questions that will better help you decide if being a caregiver or having a caregiver is an option:
What is a Caregiver?
As defined by the MA Medical Use of Marijuana Program, a caregiver is
“a person, registered by the Department, who is at least 21 years old, who has agreed to assist with a registered qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana, and [who] is not the registered qualifying patient’s certifying physician.”
In a nutshell, your caregiver is someone who can assist you in purchasing and medicating with cannabis. A caregiver can serve only one registered qualifying patient in MA unless they are an employee of a hospice provider, nursing home, personal care attendant, home health aide or family member of more than one patient.
Every patient in the Commonwealth’s medical marijuana program can designate up to two caregivers.
Do I Need a Caregiver?
Appointing a caregiver is optional for persons over the age of 21. A caregiver is strongly recommended for patients whose disability makes medical marijuana difficult to acquire or consume. People with fine motor skill impairment or people who are unable to travel without assistance are encouraged to appoint a caregiver.
Patients under the age of 18 are required to assign a caregiver and are not allowed to possess or consume marijuana without their caretaker present.
Who is Qualified To Be a Caregiver in Massachusetts?
Any person over the age of 21 can register to be a caregiver in the MA Medical Use of Marijuana Program.
What Can a Caregiver Do?
- Transport their patient to and from a dispensary
- Accompany their patients into a dispensary
- Purchase and transport medical cannabis products without the patient present
- Cultivate a 60-day supply of cannabis either at their place of residence or the patient’s home.
- Prepare a patient’s marijuana for consumption – This includes measuring and grinding cannabis, packing a pipe, rolling a marijuana cigarette, cooking with cannabis, storing it, etc.
- Administer marijuana to their patient
Who Should My Caregiver Be?
Many patients ask family members to be their caregiver, but your caregiver can be anyone you trust, who is reliable and familiar with your medical needs. A caregiver should have reliable transportation and a basic working knowledge of cannabis. It’s also a good idea to appoint a caregiver in front of whom you’re comfortable medicating.
What Information Is Needed to Complete the Caregiver Application?
After applying to be a patient in the program, you’ll be given a Personal Identification Number. Your caregiver will need this PIN to begin their application. They will also need a current photo ID and a current photograph for their caregiver ID card.
How Does My Caregiver Register?
Those who wish to apply to be a caregiver for a patient in the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Program should read these directions carefully. The Readers Digest version is as follows:
- Gather necessary information
- Register with the Virtual Gateway
- Check your email and click the link to verify your account with the Virtual Gateway
- Register with the MMJ Online System
- Print out your temporary card-carry this card with you at all times until your permanent card comes in the mail within two-four weeks.
Registration is available by mail, though it tends to be a very lengthy process. Call 617-660-5370 to begin a paper registration.
Can I Change My Caregiver?
You can change your caregiver as many times as you’d like. You’ll need to notify the Department of Public health of the change. Your new caregiver will need to complete the registration process, and your old caregiver will need to surrender their program ID card to the state before the change is valid.
What Can’t A Personal Caregiver Do In Massachusetts?
- Even though marijuana has been decriminalized in Massachusetts, a caregiver cannot sell, distribute or otherwise divert marijuana dispensed on behalf of their patients. A caregiver also cannot consume the marijuana they acquire on their patient’s behalf even at the patient’s request.
- Allow a registered qualifying patient under the age of 18 to possess or consume cannabis in any form without being present.
- Cultivate marijuana for their use or distribution to any person other than their patient even if that person is a medical marijuana patient.
If You Want to be a Caregiver, Revolutionary Clinics Can Help
Becoming an MMJ caregiver in Massachusetts is an involved process, but it’s undoubtedly worth it. Not only do you have the opportunity to help someone you care about, but you may be permitted to cultivate a small amount of medical marijuana under specific circumstances.
If you have any further questions on how to become an MMJ caregiver, Revolutionary Clinics can help. Contact us today to find out more.