As the people of Massachusetts wait for the internal politics of the new marijuana law (enacted in November 2012) to be ironed out by our government officials – we have yet to see one dispensary or grow operation developer licensed, or anyone and able to assist the legally recognized medical marijuana citizens. These citizens have paid upwards of $200.00 for an annual certificate. As of February 1, 2015 a fee of $50.00 is necessary to be included in the state registry of medical marijuana users. If you are not registered with the state you have no legal status as a medical marijuana user or grower and can be subject to arrest and/or fines. The fact that this “registry” even exists is an alarming invasion of privacy.
A poll done by Suffolk University/Boston Herald in February 2014, showed 53% of Massachusetts voters favored marijuana legalization.
Since the law was voted in by the people’s majority-medical marijuana card holders have the option to grow their own pot (60 day supply-plant number not specified). Now to some this may be a do able project, but for those not able to because of their living situation- the cost involved – or because of those medical reasons the law was passed, to protect and improve the quality of their lives. Growing marijuana is an art, you have to become familiar with the different strains, where to get seeds, the lengthy process of growing, drying and storing the product, together it is not a simple task.
The present law allows individual patients to designate a caregiver to cultivate for them if unable to access a state authorized dispensary or can verify a “financial hardship”.
Hope is that marijuana and its products will be on the agenda in 2016 for full legalization. On March 2015, Representative Dave Rogers (D-Belmont) and Senator Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerset) introduced (Filed 1/16/15 Docket #3436) Bill H1561 to legalize and tax marijuana in Massachusetts similar to alcohol for legal use by adults over 21, legalize personal cultivation, commercial sales and cannabis cafes in the Bay state. The Bill proposes outside the home , personal limits of 10 ounces or 10 pounds of edibles-there are no in-home possession limits. Possession by persons 18-21 is a civil infraction and completion of Minors Drug Awareness Program is indicated.
This is a bipartisan group of thirteen co-sponsors signed in to support the bill. If successful Massachusetts could be first to legalize industrial hemp and marijuana for recreational use by the legislature rather than with a popular vote. Newly elected Governor Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh have already come forth in opposition of any bill to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Governor Baker agreeing with addiction service providers in their belief marijuana is a gateway drug.
Massachusetts lawmakers would rather see legislatures write a proposed law, allow for public opinion and have final say over all phases, than put forth by activist groups with much public support.
As an older citizen, I have seen much suffering and have been a proponent of marijuana’s ability to help with medical and mental symptoms for over 5 decades.
Lets hope Massachusetts can pull it together and start providing substance to a law already passed, favored and much needed to combat suffering by the people of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
This article was written by a retired medical marijuana patient living in Massachusetts. She has no access in her area, and is wary of delivery services coming to her home. Dispensaries are the answer to safe, affordable, and reliable access to medical marijuana.