It’s on to election day in Massachusetts. A Supreme Judicial Court judge at the end of June approved new language for the medical marijuana question after opponents successfully challenged its wording. Originally, ballots would have said, “A yes vote would enact the proposed law eliminating state criminal and civil penalties related to the medical use of marijuana by patients meeting certain conditions.”
The new statement approved by Associate Justice Robert Cordy will go on to explain that patients would be able to get marijuana “produced and distributed by new state-regulated centers or, in specific hardship cases, to grow marijuana for their own use.” The original wording did not make clear the initiative would allow up to 35 marijuana dispensaries in the state, said Heidi Heilman, president of the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance, which appealed the phrasing. At least one, but no more than five centers would be allowed in each county.
Heilman said the alliance was thrilled the court “ruled to expose the details of this legislation.” Her group plans to campaign against the ballot question.
“This is about selling pot in our neighborhoods,” she said. “That’s the bottom line.” The Committee for Compassionate Medicine, which filed the ballot question, also agrees with the new wording drafted by the attorney general’s office, said Jennifer Manley, a spokeswoman for the proponents.
It was important that the language make clear dispensaries would be regulated, she said.
“We had the benefit of learning from 17 other states and the District of Columbia,” she said, referring to other states that have adopted medical marijuana laws. “The hallmark of this initiative is state regulation.”
A summary of the ballot initiative says to qualify to use medical marijuana, patients would have to get a written certification from a doctor that they have a specific, debilitating medical condition, such as cancer, ALS or Parkinson’s disease. Such patients could possess up to a 60-day supply of marijuana, as defined by the state Department of Public Health, “for their personal medical use,” the summary said. The health department would register dispensaries and their employees and establish rules for them, “including cultivation and storage of marijuana only in enclosed, locked facilities.”
A new day is coming for Massachusetts. As the voters themselves re-legalize cannabis, one of these days the politicians are going to figure out which way the wind is blowing. Original story is here.
[image: Google images Massachusetts]
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