MPAA Agenda

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.

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!

 

2020

A New Vision

Ongoing initiatives for the Medical Cannabis Community and General Public in 2020:

1. Non-Vertical Integration for Medical Cannabis Business Applicants: H.3539 & S.1128, 'An Act relative to medical marijuana patient safety and access'

2. 'Compassion Fund' for Public Education around Medical Cannabis

3. Health Insurance Coverage & Programs for Financial Assistance for Medical Cannabis Products and Services, (ie. Frank's Friends Initiative)

Developing topics for 2020 include, but are not limited to: Research and Development, Safe Access for Pediatric Patients, Personal Caregiver Regulations, Cultural Competency, Constituent Services, and New Educational Programming and Community Events, so stay tuned!

2019

The Year of The Patient

Big Announcement for 2019! We are proud to announce that after two years since we first helped craft an amendment to Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017 to create instant patient protections with the honorable Representative Frank Smizik, Instant Access Certification has been launched by the Commission!

Beginning July 1, patients will get faster access to medical marijuana - by Shira Schoenberg, Jun 25, 2019

Starting in November, medical marijuana patients in Mass. will no longer have to pay annual fees - by Felicia Gans, October 22, 2019

 

2018

Patients Continue to Advocate for the Medical Marijuana Program's Implementation

Q&A with Nichole Snow, head of Mass. Patient Advocacy Alliance - Boston Business Journal 

"What are some of the challenges potential business owners face in opening a dispensary? Demand is high, but market participation in the medical cannabis market is limited to a vertically integrated dispensary model. Applicants that do want to specialize in medical cannabis have enormous hurdles in front of them and that is very high prerequisite capital requirements, limited available real estate in cities and towns, and a requirement for vertical integration. The MPAA is advocating to lower those barriers to entry and eliminate the vertical integration requirement in the situation a market participant wants to specialize in producing a product, cultivating a certain strain that is in high demand for medical purposes, or providing healthcare level customer service to their patients. Some small and mid-level businesses want their focus to be reinvesting in their patients, research and development, and their host communities. I think we want to encourage that ethos and not stifle it."

2017

Preserve and Maintain the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program for Patients

Supported Amendments to Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017,  An Act to Ensure Safe Access to Marijuana (which amended Chapter 334 of the Acts of 2016)

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."

2016

Expand the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program to Underserved Communities

State's newest medical marijuana dispensary is located inside an old bank in Brookline (Photos) by Gintautas Dumcius, Feb 16, 2016 - Fifth Medical Marijuana Dispensary 

6th medical marijuana dispensary opens in Mass. by Kay Lazar Boston Globe, February 17, 2016

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."

2015

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

Demand soaring at state’s lone marijuana dispensary by Kay Lazar, Boston Globe, June 2015

"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.”

The case of the 10,000 missing medical marijuana patients - More than 20,000 people were told by doctors that they would benefit from medical cannabis. But so far, only half have registered. Where are the rest? by Allison Manning, Boston.com July 28, 2015

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.

2014

Patients Call for Action 

Medical marijuana patients threaten lawsuit over slow pace of dispensary licensing 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."

2013

MA Department of Public Health works to implement the Medical Marijuana Law

Medical marijuana: Massachusetts law, what you need to know - WCVB Updated: 11:22 PM EST Feb 19, 2013

2012

Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative passes in Massachusetts

Chapter 369 of the Acts of 2012, An Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana (repealed by Section 47 of Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017)