Massachusetts Medical Society: MMS Medical Marijuana Policy

MMS Medical Marijuana Policy

Passed by the MMS House of Delegates, December 1, 2012


1.  That given the approval of the binding ballot initiative entitled "An Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana," in order for the MMS to participate in necessary clarifications, definitions, and review of regulations development, the following directive adopted at the 2012 Annual Meeting be rescinded:

That until such time as marijuana is approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration and is no longer classified in schedule I by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the MMS cannot support legislation intended to involve physicians in certifying, authorizing, or otherwise directing persons in the area of medicinal marijuana outside of scientific clinical trials.

2. That the MMS work with the MA Board of Registration in Medicine (BORIM) to define the nature of the relevant physician-patient relationship required under "An Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana" including an appropriate reassessment interval and required parent or guardian permission for individuals less than 18 years old.

3. That the MMS advocate for the development of appropriate standards for marijuana certifications by physicians, including that physicians must have an active license from the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, a Massachusetts Department of Public Health Controlled Substances registration, and a federal Drug Enforcement Agency registration.

4. That the MMS advocate that written certifications for marijuana registration cards are based on:

a) The patient's diagnosis; and
b) The physician's assessment that the patient's symptoms of spasticity, neuropathic pain or other symptoms determined by the Department of Public Health are not optimally controlled with conventional medical therapy; and, be it further

5. That the MMS advocate that the regulations take into consideration the implications of medical use of marijuana on occupational health and safety.

6. That the MMS advocate to the BORIM and the Department of Public Health that relevant regulations include the following recommendations of the American Society on Addiction Medicine adopted April 12, 2010, that physicians who choose to provide certifications:

  • ...Adhere to the established professional tenets of proper patient care, including
    • Development of a treatment plan with objectives;
    • Provision of informed consent, including discussion of side effects;
    • Periodic review of the treatment's efficacy;
    • Consultation, as necessary; and
    • Proper record keeping that supports the decision to recommend the use of cannabis
  •  …should have a pre-existing and ongoing relationship with the patient as a treating physician
  • Ensure that the issuance of "recommendations" is not a disproportionately large (or even exclusive) aspect of their practice
  • Have adequate training in identifying substance abuse and addiction.

7. That the MMS advocate with the MA Department of Public Health and the MA Legislature that marijuana dispensing be integrated with, and therefore be part of, the existing DPH Prescription Monitoring Program.

8. That the MMS work with the BORIM to clarify that the mandated peer reporting requirements do not apply to physicians who choose to provide certifications under the Medical Use of Marijuana law.

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