The Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance (MPAA) represents the coalition of patients, caregivers, family members, medical professionals, and public health groups that helped draft and pass the 2012 ballot question to legalize medical marijuana.  Since the medical marijuana law was passed, MPAA has worked continuously with the Department of Public Health and other stakeholders during the roll out of medical marijuana to ensure implementation of the law was completed in a manner that worked for both individual patients and communities as a whole. We continue working everyday for safe access as we lead medical cannabis into the mainstream through our educational events and materials, advocacy, research, and our efforts to protect patient rights.

The Problem

Medical Cannabis Patients Continue to Face Stigma in Mainstream Medicine and Struggle for Safe Access

While medical cannabis patients have started to obtain access to safe and regulated products in Massachusetts they continue to face stigma at home, work, school, and within mainstream medical institutions.  Cannabis patients facing hospitalization are often discontinued from their normal regimen of medical cannabis because institutions refuse to allow these patients to medicate within their walls.  Medical cannabis patients should expect a continuance of care if they're hospitalized or require further assistance in medical facilities. 

Even with the passage of adult use, medical cannabis patients struggle to find safe and regulated products.  Dispensary access is still severely lacking and product variety remains low.  

Our Mission

MPAA is a non-biased resource for individuals and organizations inquiring about the medical marijuana program.  We are on a mission to work with local and state governmental bodies to ensure the social welfare of medical marijuana patients, doctors, caregivers, medical professionals, advocates, and the general public while developing and implementing laws, policies, and regulations related to medical marijuana and its safe use. 

 

Executive Board

Nichole Snow

President & Executive Director

After meeting hundreds of patients across the state of Massachusetts while advocating for their right to safe access, Nichole was invited to take a leadership role in the alliance in 2014.  Since becoming director of the fledgling organization, Nichole worked with all stakeholders involved in the...

Elizabeth Dost

Clinical Director

We are proud to welcome and introduce to you our Clinical Director, Elizabeth Dost. Elizabeth is a registered nurse and senior health care executive with more than 20 years experience in Boston-area healthcare. Her experience in palliative care treatment brings to our executive board the knowledge and compassion...

Michael Latulippe

Development Director

Reporting to and in partnership with the Executive Director (ED), the Development Director will spearhead development efforts as the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, Inc. continues to grow. Michael’s core responsibility will be to design and execute on a comprehensive development strategy for the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, Inc....

MPAA Accomplishments

Permanent Advisors to the Cannabis Control Commission

MPAA Agenda

Since the inception of the Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana and its passage in 2012, the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance's agenda has been solely to support the patients and their safe access to medical marijuana.  We aim to implement the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program as written in statute and as intended in spirit.  Throughout the years, our organization's task list may have changed, but our agenda has remained the same.  Safe access for patients!

Our Mission:  The Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, Inc. will have the purpose of working with local and state governmental bodies to ensure the social welfare of medical marijuana patients, doctors, caregivers, medical professionals, advocates, and the general public while developing and implementing laws, policies, and regulations related to medical marijuana and its safe use. The corporation will conduct such other activities and programs in furtherance of the foregoing purposes as may be carried out by a corporation organized under the massachusetts general laws chapter 180 and under section 501(c)(4) of the internal revenue code. The corporation will not engage in any activity that requires registration with the massachusetts department of public health.

 

2017

Preserve and Maintain the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program for Patients

 

Medical marijuana advocates fear changes to pot law written by Christian M. Wade Statehouse Reporter

"The House and Senate are debating a host of changes to the voter-approved law, which allows adults 21 and older to have up to 10 ounces of the drug, and a dozen pot plants on their property. Most of the proposed changes focus on increasing a 12 percent maximum tax rate and giving cities and towns more power to block retail pot shops, which are set to open next year.

But the proposals also would shift regulation of medical pot from the state Department of Public Health to a new cannabis control commission, which would operate similar to the state’s casino board.

Medical marijuana advocates say that essentially lumps people who use cannabis for medicinal purposes in with those who just want to get stoned.

“This is a medical industry that has taken years to develop,” said Nichole Snow, executive director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, which represents medical pot patients. “Now they want to change it to an adult-use industry.”

Hurting medical marijuana

Snow said the focus on commercial pot will marginalize patients and hurt medical marijuana dispensaries that are still struggling to develop a viable industry.

That’s what happened in Washington state, she said, which effectively dismantled its medical marijuana program last year, merging it with recreational pot. Most medical dispensaries were shut out of the recreational market, Snow said, and scores of pediatric patients couldn’t get their medicine."

 

2014

Patients Call for Action 

 

Medical marijuana patients threaten lawsuit over slow pace of dispensary licensing written by Shira Schoenberg, MassLive

A group of medical marijuana patients on Monday called it "scandalous" that Gov. Deval Patrick's administration will take more than two years to open any medical marijuana dispensaries.

"The lack of movement on implementing the law is becoming a serious public health issue, it's a quality of life issue and at this point, it's an issue about ineffective government and leadership," said Matthew Allen, executive director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance. "We're outraged, and we feel the process has now been subsumed by politics before patients, and it appears the governor wants to try to skip out of office without addressing medical marijuana."

 

2015

New Baker Administration Revamps Licensing Process; Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance Begins Support of Statewide Implementation of the MA Medical Marijuana Program

 

Massachusetts medical marijuana program faces deficit over $1 million written by Shira Schoenberg, MassLive

The Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance has been critical of how long the medical marijuana licensing process has taken, and Snow said the deficit is another consequence of a process that was too stringent.

"They were spending money on God knows what, and it wasn't to make any progress," Snow said. "They spent money that just wasn't there."

A spokesman for a trade association representing several of the state's licensed dispensaries declined to comment.

The projected deficit is only the latest setback for a program that has been beset by problems. There have been lawsuits by unsuccessful medical marijuana companies, though judges have generally found in favor of the state. Applications that were provisionally approved were found to have problems, such as overstated levels of local support or officers who had trouble running dispensaries in other states. But when the state put the licensing process on hold to do additional checks, patient advocates complained of delays.

Department of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, who was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker, announced recently that the administration is revamping the licensing process. The new process will allow dispensaries to apply for licenses on a rolling basis, and each one will be scored individually. Previously, the state set deadlines for applications, then analyzed the entire group simultaneously.

 

Demand soaring at state’s lone marijuana dispensary written by Kay Lazar, Boston Globe

"More than 20,000 people have obtained the required physician certifications to legally buy marijuana for medical use, and nearly 12,000 of them have completed registration to shop in a dispensary, state records show.

“There are a lot of patients out there who still need access to medical marijuana, and the big concern is that they are getting medicine from an unregulated market,” Snow said. “We want the lab testing to be thorough but not so stringent that dispensaries can’t provide the medicine patients need.”

 

2016

Expand the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program to Underserved Communities

 

Massachusetts' 9th Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens in Newton report by Craig Lemoult, WGBH

"It’s been four years since Massachusetts voters approved medical pot, and this is just the ninth dispensary to open. 55 others are well into the approval process."

 

 

MPAA In The News

DPH slows medical marijuana fixes, infuriating patients

Governor Charlie Baker’s administration has frozen an effort to expand the availability of medical marijuana, infuriating advocates who say the long-pending regulatory changes — which include allowing more medical professionals to prescribe and administer the drug — would help tens of thousands of sick patients.

“Medical marijuana patients are being...

More medical pot dispensaries offering home delivery in Massachusetts

Often facing long drives to the nearest medical marijuana dispensary, some patients with debilitating conditions are opting for home delivery.

“It’s something that patients say they really want,” said Nichole Snow, a Salem resident and president of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance. “Many patients are homebound, really ill or don’t...

Cannabis Control Commission meets with its advisory board

The Cannabis Advisory Board met for the first time in Boston on Tuesday at a joint meeting with the Cannabis Control Commission.

The 25-member board is tasked with studying and making recommendations to the Commission on the regulation and taxation of marijuana.

State begins writing weed regs

The panel that will study and make recommendations on regulating marijuana in Massachusetts — the first piece of a growing regulatory structure — is on track to be finalized by the end of the week when the governor names the final five members.

Nichole Snow, president and executive director of...

Medical pot access on cape remains limited

Nearly five years after voters made marijuana legal for medical purposes, the Cape and Islands are still without a single dispensary, which has forced many patients to turn to the black market or legally questionable delivery services to purchase what they say is life-improving medicine.

“Patients are not being served...

Ruling means Massachusetts companies can't fire workers for medical marijuana

Massachusetts companies cannot fire employees who have a prescription for medical marijuana simply because they use the drug, the state’s highest court ruled Monday, rejecting employers’ arguments that they could summarily enforce strict no-drug policies against such patients.

“We are thrilled that the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has ruled...

Medical marijuana advocates in Massachusetts fear changes to pot law

Lisa Cole fought for years to get state approval to give medical marijuana to her 8-year-old daughter, and she searched even longer for a doctor willing to prescribe it.

“This is a medical industry that has taken years to develop,” said Nichole Snow, executive director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy...

Parents fear loss of medical marijuana for seizure control

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ plan to end the use of medical marijuana has Lisa and Laurence Cole concerned.

Nichole R. Snow, executive director of Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, which drafted the medical marijuana initiative, said dozens of more dispensaries are set to open soon, which likely means a wider...

A 28 percent tax on marijuana? That’s the plan under the latest bill

In a sweeping rewrite of the voter-passed marijuana legalization measure, House leaders will advance a bill Wednesday that would more than double the total tax on recreational pot and give municipal officials — instead of local voters — the power to ban cannabis shops and farms.

“The Justice Department could,...

Recreational pot challenges medical shops

Can medical marijuana survive in a recreational marijuana world?

Massachusetts advocates are also calling on the state to ease some regulations on patients, including eliminating the $50 registration fee and two- to four-week waiting period to receive a medical marijuana card. That should boost enrollment and make the medical market...

Contact

Have questions about the medical cannabis program in Massachusetts?  Want to ask a question to a member of the MPAA team? 

Please fill out the form below and contact us with any inquiry you may have.  Our mailing address is 745 Atlantic Ave. Boston, MA 02111.