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Frank's Friends

Frank's Friends

Compassion for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

Frank’s Friends provides patients with documented & verified financial hardship and a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS to qualify for 50% off each purchase at our Verilife Wareham store.

To qualify, patients must bring:

  • A valid form of identification and Medical Use of Marijuana Program ID card
  • A signed note from a physician that has had an ongoing relationship in treating the patient’s HIV/AIDS; OR 
  • A copy of the HIV/AIDS diagnosis from their certifying healthcare provider

Patients must also bring ONE of the four pieces of documentation outlined below for verified financial hardship.

  1. Official MassHealth acceptance letter for the current year, or official MassHealth redetermination letter for the current year
  2. SSI benefit verification letter for the current year
  3. SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) statement from the current year
  4. State or federal tax return from this year or last year

* Frank's Friends savings cannot be combined with other discounts, savings or specials.  Discounts, promotions, and specials are subject to change without notice.

The history of the HIV/AIDS crisis and medical marijuana as a treatment

“I am not happy that I am sick. I am not happy that I have AIDS. But if that is helping others,
I can at least know that my own misfortune has had some positive worth.” - Rock Hudson

During a time period when no conventional treatments existed for the symptoms of HIV and AIDS, many patients found relief in medical marijuana. Some of the earliest reports of patients using medical marijuana were in San Francisco, which was particularly hard hit by the AIDS crisis. To address the crisis, San Francisco became one of the first municipalities in the country to allow medical marijuana to patients with qualifying conditions including HIV/AIDS.

In 1996, HIV/AIDS patient advocates like Brownie Mary and Denis Peron developed and helped pass the very first statewide ballot question to legalize medical marijuana in California (Proposition 215). In 1998, Massachusetts followed California and attempted to pass medical marijuana. Unfortunately, it did not pass the legislature. Today, over thirty states, including Massachusetts, have medical marijuana laws that incorporate protections for HIV/AIDS patients.

The use of medical marijuana for those suffering from HIV/AIDS descended from the crisis created by the lack of treatment options. HIV/AIDS symptoms. We now have a roadmap to compassionate access for future generations to learn from.


Questions and answers

The mission of Frank’s Friends is to provide HIV/AIDS patients with verified financial hardship affordable access to medical marijuana at participating medical marijuana dispensaries.  Frank’s Friends provides those who qualify with 50% OFF* of each purchase at Verilife.

* Frank's Friends savings cannot be combined with other discounts, savings or specials.  Discounts, promotions, and specials are subject to change without notice.

The cost of HIV/AIDS medications is costly and even copays under certain medical programs can burden the financial stability of those suffering from HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, because of the federal illegality of marijuana, this medication is not covered by health insurance, forcing

HIV/AIDS patients to pay further out of pocket expenses to attain their medication. Some people with HIV/AIDS are living at or under the poverty level in order to qualify and maintain their subsidized healthcare services such as MassHealth, housing, SNAP benefits, and other social programs.

The high cost of medical marijuana can deter some HIV/AIDS patients from taking advantage of the medical marijuana program in Massachusetts. For this reason, Frank’s Friends was developed to create discount programs at Medical Marijuana Treatment

Centers (MTCs) to help those with HIV/AIDS and verified financial hardship afford their medication. HIV/AIDS patients brought marijuana as a medicine to the forefront in a time when little other relief was available to those suffering from this condition. As we enter a new decade we must continue to recognize and help those living with HIV/AIDS, not forgetting the legacy of those who lived and died advocating.

Frank’s Friends was created by Frank H. Shaw of Ipswich. Frank is a HIV/AIDS patient who was diagnosed in 1998. Frank advocates for medical marijuana and advocates with Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, the group that helped pass the medical marijuana ballot question in 2012. Frank engages with the Cannabis Control Commission and Massachusetts Legislature on a regular basis around medical marijuana policy. Frank was also one of a handful of medical marijuana patients that challenged Governor Baker’s vape ban in court, successfully resulting in medical marijuana vapes returning to dispensary shelves earlier than originally anticipated.


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