Medical marijuana patients in Massachusetts will no longer must pay annual registration or renewal fees beginning in November, a long-sought shift by individuals that have predicted the charges that a barrier to access.
The removal of the $50 yearly fee was approved by the nation’s Cannabis Control Commission throughout its latest review of the medical usage of marijuana regulations. The cannabis commissioners learned from patients regarding the effect of the fee — and weighed whether the condition can offset lost revenue from eliminating it before voting to kill the fee.
“Over the course of the regulatory drafting process, the commission heard from many patients who described the annual registration fee as a barrier to care, and we continue to take their concerns very seriously,” commission chairman Steven Hoffman said in a statement.
Patients will nevertheless be asked to cover a $10 commission when a replacement medical marijuana card is necessary.
Nichole Snow, executive director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, applauded the decision, stating the elimination of this fee was a “long time coming” using a great deal of work put in by sufferers and urges.
“The fee was undue stress to receiving health care, and it was an obstruction,” she explained. “What this really means is that patients are going to be treated equally, just like any other patient who is seeking out health care, and that is huge.”
Snow added that the $50 fee strengthened the stigma of using medical marijuana.
“It made us feel like it was a challenging hoop to go through in order to seek out medical marijuana as a health care option,” Snow stated. “We felt outcasted and not like anyone else, and now we feel like we belong in the health care system.”