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Frank's Friends

Medical Cannabis for Patients with HIV/AIDS

Verilife is pleased to partner with local Massachusetts nonprofit Frank’s Friends to provide financial relief to medical patients with HIV/AIDS. Through this program, qualifying patients will receive 50% off each purchase at Verilife Massachusetts dispensaries.

How to Qualify for Frank’s Friends Discounts

To register for Frank's Friends, bring a valid, state-issued ID and your medical marijuana card to a participating dispensary, along with:

  • A signed note from a physician that has had an ongoing relationship in treating your HIV/AIDS; OR
  • A copy of the HIV/AIDS diagnosis from your certifying healthcare provider.

You must ALSO bring one of the four pieces of documentation outlined below for verified financial hardship:

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

Once you are registered as a Frank’s Friends patient, you are eligible to receive 50% off your total cannabis purchase at a Verilife Massachusetts dispensary. Please note this cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions.

Get a Medical Cannabis Card in Massachusetts

The first step in establishing eligibility for the Frank’s Friends discount program is to obtain a medical cannabis card through the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Program. For instructions, please visit our Get a Card page.

The History Of The HIV/AIDS Crisis And Medical Marijuana As A Treatment

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. 

Who is Frank?

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 who challenged Governor Baker’s vape ban in court, successfully resulting in medical marijuana vapes returning to dispensary shelves earlier than originally anticipated.

Why Was Frank’s Friends Created?

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. 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. We must continue to recognize and help those living with HIV/AIDS, not forgetting the legacy of those who lived and died advocating.