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Massachusetts Lawmakers Try to Eliminate Voter Approved Medical Marijuana Program

By Scott Gacek May 3, 2013 Massachusetts Lawmakers Try to Eliminate Voter Approved Medical Marijuana Program
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Massachusetts Lawmakers Try to Circumvent Will of Voters by Gutting Question 3

BOSTON, MA —  Hearings on a bill that would eliminate the medical marijuana program approved by Massachusetts voters in November will be held Monday, May 6 at the State House.

Over 63 percent of voters approved Question 3 in November 2012, making Massachusetts the 18th state to allow medical marijuana.  Since then, the Department of Public Health has been soliciting input from Bay State residents in the interest of crafting regulations for the initiative approved by voters, and are expected to release the final regulations in late May.

Now, state lawmakers will be holding public hearings on several proposals that would essentially re-write the ballot initiative enacted by the voters while gutting the yet-to-launch medical marijuana program in the process.

On Monday, May 6 at 10 AM in hearing room A-2 at the State House, the Joint Committee on Public Health will be holding a hearing on Senate Bill 1031 and several other proposals that would prevent patients from safely accessing their medicine.

Most notably, legislation filed by state Senator John F. Keenan (D-Quincy), a longtime opponent of common sense marijuana policies in the Commonwealth, would restrict the qualifying conditions for the medical marijuana program, as well as significantly reduce patient’s access to medical marijuana in Massachusetts.

Senate Bill 1031 would reduce the number of dispensaries allowed in the state from a voter-approved 35, including a minimum of 1 and maximum of 5 per county, to only 10 dispensaries allowed state-wide.  The proposal would also limit medical marijuana patients to a supply of two ounces per month, down from the 60-day supply of  ten ounces recommended by the Department of Public Health.

Most notably, Senate Bill 1031 limits the list of qualifying conditions to cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.  This restrictive list does not include chronic pain, ulcerative colitis, paralysis, PTSD and many other conditions that patients can find relief from medical marijuana.

“After four months of soliciting input from all stakeholders in the state, the Department of Public Health has almost finished with writing regulations for the initiative approved by the voters,” said the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance in a statement. “Let’s let the state move forward with implementing the safest and most secure medical marijuana law in the country rather than starting all over again from scratch.”

Hearings will also be held on House Bill 2039, sponsored by Rep. James Murphy (D-Weymouth) which would establish zoning standards for the siting of medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts, preventing them from being located within a 1000-foot radius of a school, place of worship, civic center, drug free zone or non smoking zones as set by a municipality or the state.

Medical marijuana advocates say that this would prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries from opening anywhere in the state, due to Massachusetts’ workplace smoking ban.

The Joint Committee on Public Health is co-chaired by Sen. Keenan and Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain), both longtime opponents of medical marijuana in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts residents are urged to contact their elected officials and encourage them to oppose Senate Bill 1031.

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  • mass patient

    This is terrible as a massachusetts medical marijuana patient with severe anxiety limiting the list of conditions would severly damper my life again after now finnaly being able seek the type of relief that helps me be able to leave my house and function and feel normal and go about my life with out having to take drugs with and undesireable side effects that basicly out weigh the positive ones and im 24 now and have been on those medications for more then half of my life including other ones so trust me iv tried them all and none has the desireable effect with out the negative that cannabis provides me

  • Sam Canna

    Sen. Keenan and Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez Should absolutely be in their last term as a public officials! Lets remember these obtuse politicians who defy the will of people and launch anti re-election campaigns against them!

    • Paul Edward McLaughlin

      I was going to email fair state senator keenana and comapany to inform them that their respective political careers are over, but it’s getting late and I will just let them find that out on their own.

  • MassCentral420

    MARIJUANA IS ILLEGAL BECAUSE BILLIONAIRES WANT TO REMAIN BILLIONAIRES
    http://masscentral.com/marijuana_facts.htm

  • firetheliberals

    Mass residents should protest in light of the continual legislative obstacles being presented by city and state officials to block mmj. Obviously, in mass, the cradle of the revolution , the people’s representatives are dictators.

  • James

    Massachusetts lawmakers COUGH DRUG COMPANIES COUGH try to eliminate Voter approved Marijuana should be the title

  • James

    Massachusetts lawmakers COUGH DRUG COMPANIES COUGH try to eliminate Voter approved Marijuana should be the title

  • Jen*

    this can not be happening!!!! you can’t do this to ppl! i just started having faith in this state, n to read this… im disgusted in these two democrats, your not doctors, your not our therapists…. y is it so hard for ppl to see the good in marijuana??? how hard is it to realize all the potentials associated w hemp in general??? if i lose my rights again in this state just recently receiving my letter of certification (waiting for the final laws so as to actual receive the medical card thru the mail) n these closed minded “public” officials take it away from us… i promise to refrain from being a tax payer of this state n move to a better place of living all together!!!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003761382314 Gregory A. Peterson

    and this BS government has absolutely zero intent on listening to what the people want, it doesn’t fit the overall plan, this is SO STUPID and yet our elected ass clowns feel that “WE THE PEOPLE” have no idea what we want, it’s not legal marijuana that a majority of voters have clearly stated we wanted, we are confused we meant to vote yes we want more war and worldwide unrest and the military does not want to have to draft a bunch of stoners, enough of the government’s meddling already this gas been a BS
    “war on drugs” for going on half a century now and much like that other BS war the “war on terror” this is doing nothing but ruining lives it’s NOT the drugs or the terrorists IT’S THE GOVERNMENT STUPID, they have easily become public enemy number 1

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002193412962 River Valley

    Right here is a good reason why I left the state several years ago. I see lots of “last term” politicians opening their fat pieholes to try and shoot this down… Maybe if they took off the snorkels and got out of their bottles of whiskey they would have an effin clue…

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