The Department of Public Health, Massachusetts, has issued draft rules for the use of medical marijuana in the state. These set of rules essentially allows the medical practitioners to decide whether the medical condition of a patient demands the use of this drug for treatment.
As per the existing laws of the state of Massachusetts, to qualify for treatment with medical marijuana, a patient must have a debilitating medical condition such as wasting syndrome, cancer, glaucoma, hepatitis C, ALS or HIV/AIDS. The new drafts regulations allow weed doctors to prescribe marijuana for patients at their own discretion.
The drafts rules also address the issue of licensing medical marijuana treatment centers or dispensaries. The new set of rules, contained in a 45-page draft, requires the applicants to be part of a non-profit organization. The newly formulated regulations are aimed at preventing the wholesale distribution of cannabis products in the state by insisting on the dispensary owners to own and operate their own cannabis growing facilities. In a news release the Department of Public Health stated, “This allows for uniform seed-to-sale control and maximized security.”
Even though the voters of the state had approved of a ballot referendum, which proposed the legalization of marijuana for medical use, the more difficult task of implementing the law by formatting the regulations fell on the shoulders of the Department of Public Health.
The existing referendum allows each patient to legally possess a 60-day supply of marijuana for his or her own use, but has not mentioned a specific quantity. The new draft proposes 10 ounces of medical marijuana as ideal to be possessed by any patient at a time. The Health department, however, has decided to avoid a conflict and follow the lead of weed doctors of the 17 states that have already legalized the use of medical marijuana.
The security issues associated with growing pot independently has been a matter of concern to the state. The drafts regulations aims at formulating a set of laws intended to minimize the home cultivation of cannabis and to improve security. Dr. Lauren Smith, the interim public health commissioner said, “In this proposal, we have sought to achieve a balanced approach that will provide appropriate access for patients, while maintaining a secure system that keeps our communities safe.”
The final set of rules will be put to vote on May 8 and would become effective from May 24. “There is still time for citizens to weigh in on this proposal and I encourage them to do so through the Department’s public hearings or through written comment”, says Jeffrey Sánchez, the State Representative and House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Health.