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Massachusetts medical cannabis patients will no longer have to pay a $50 annual fee for a patient registration card.

The fee will be eliminated under new rules governing medical cannabis approved unanimously this week by the Cannabis Control Commission. The rules will become official as soon as they are promulgated by the Secretary of State. The commission will then update its procedures for patients renewals and inform patients.

The elimination of the fee has been a priority of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, an advocacy group for medical cannabis patients.

“It was an obstruction to health care,” said Nichole Snow, executive director of the MPAA. “No other medicine requires a $50 fee.”

Representatives of the MPAA say the fee posed a hardship to low-income medical patients.

Although medical patients can now buy from the recreational market without a medical card, there are certain benefits only available to medical patients, including tax-free cannabis and the creation of an electronic patient record.

Snow said the elimination of the fee is “a real win for low-income and disabled patients.”

The new rules also revise the regulations governing financial hardship programs. While medical dispensaries have always been required to offer discounts for low-income individuals, it was largely up to the dispensaries how to fashion those programs. Going forward, all medical cannabis dispensaries will have to write a financial hardship plan that includes goals, programs and measurements, which will be considered during the licensing process.

Source: https://www.masslive.com/news/2019/09/annual-fee-eliminated-for-massachusetts-medical-marijuana-patients.html

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