By Anne Holland
Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin’s office announced Wednesday that supporters of the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative have gathered enough local citizen signatures to place the measure on the November ballot.
The measure would allow doctors to legally prescribe marijuana to card-carrying patients with a limited range of conditions such as cancer, ALS or Parkinson’s disease. Patients could keep up to a 60-day supply of the drug in their homes for personal use.
Although each of the 14 state counties might have up to five dispensaries, a total of only 35 dispensaries would be licensed state-wide. Dispensaries would cultivate all their own marijuana in “enclosed, locked facilities”.
Patients who were unable to access a dispensary, due to distance, physical hardship or financial problems, might be licensed to grow their own medicine. The potential Mass law would not allow delivery services, nor would it force insurance or government agencies to pay for patient’s cannabis needs.
The Massachusetts Medical Society, publishers of the renowned New England Journal of Medicine, voted its opposition to legalized medical marijuana by a 2/3 majority on May 19th. However, it’s worth noting that the Society also strongly recommended that the DEA reclassify marijuana so its potential medicinal use can be further studied and possibly regulated.