At the end of 2016, over a million voters finalized the legalization of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, it will be some time before advocated will see a real difference in the availability of marijuana to the general public. The state will spend the next year finalizing the licensing, taxing, and distribution of marijuana products, which means recreational shops will not be open to the public until at least 2018. Once stores have opened, however, residents and tourists over the age of 21 will be able to purchase up to 1 ounce by simply showing a valid government idea proving they are of age.

Until then, those looking to purchase cannabis in Massachusetts will have to do so with a medical marijuana card at a licensed medical dispensary.

In order to obtain a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts, residents must first take a trip to their licensed physician. Physicians will assess whether or not cannabis can benefit their patients current physical conditions. Conditions that may merit receiving a medical marijuana card include ALS, cancer, Crohn's Disease, glaucoma, hepatitis A, HIV/AIDS, MS (multiple sclerosis), Parkinson's disease and other conditions with symptoms of chronic pain, nausea, anxiety, or depression. Once the patient has received certification, the next step is to register with the state.

Residents will need a valid government ID, a picture of themselves, a PIN they received via email from the Medicals Use of Marijuana program. Registration can be completed online and requires the payment of a $50 fee. Once the process is completed an immediate temporary medical marijuana card will be available for patients to take into local dispensaries. Similar to recreational laws, patients certified to purchase medical marijuana are limited to buying up to one ounce at a time.

Remember, as laws change it is important to always check in on current state laws prior to purchasing or consuming any cannabis products.