For Immediate Release - May 24, 2013

Department of Public Health Announces Medical Marijuana Fees to Create Fully Self-Financed Industry

Regulations promote access to qualified patients without relying on taxpayer resources

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today filed draft regulations with the Secretary of Commonwealth, creating a fee structure for a self-financed medical marijuana industry that supports patient access without relying on taxpayer resources.

“The program will be self-sustaining through fees on registered marijuana dispensaries and patients,” said Acting DPH Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett. “The proposed patient registration fees are in line with other states and will be affordable. At the same time, dispensaries will be required to pay their fair share.”

DPH will use the fees to meet the program’s operational needs, including hiring staff and training inspectors to monitor the industry. DPH will also develop an online system for registering and auditing for participant eligibility. The voter approved law is revenue neutral, with fees set to cover all estimated operating costs.

Under the draft fee regulations, registered marijuana dispensaries would pay a $1,500 fee for the first phase of an application and $30,000 for the second phase, both non-refundable. Licensed dispensaries would pay a $50,000 annual fee for Certificate of Registration and Renewal. Dispensaries would also be required to pay an annual $500 registration fee for each of their agents.

Qualified patients would pay a $50 annual registration fee, and patients who qualify for a hardship cultivation license would pay an additional $100 annual fee. Personal caregivers would not be subject to fees.

Patients with a verified financial hardship may request a waiver of the registration fee subject to review and approval by the DPH.

The draft fee regulations will now be subject to a public hearing and public comment process. A hearing is scheduled for Friday, June 14 at 1 p.m. at DPH offices at 250 Washington St. in Boston.

Throughout this process, DPH has incorporated significant input from stakeholders, patient advocates and industry representatives, and will continue this process as it sets up a fee structure that is appropriate and fair.

On May 8, the Public Health Council approved regulations for cultivation and dispensing of medical marijuana and registration of patients and personal caregivers, among other issues. The approval followed unprecedented feedback from a wide range of stakeholders. The Public Health Council commended DPH for its thoughtful development of the regulations for the voter-approved law.

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