Massachusetts Delays opening of Marijuana Outlets

Advocates of medical marijuana use in the state of Massachusetts are currently exasperated by the State House’s lack of action in expediting the opening of dispensaries, and are threatening to sue Governor Deval Patrick’s administration. Patients are complaining that the dragging of political feet at the State Capitol is hindering the fulfillment of promises made almost two years ago, when the legalization of the drug for therapeutic and medicinal purposes occurred. The Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance claims that The Department of Public Health has been avoiding the implementation of patient and caregiver registration protocol.

As of ten months ago, 20 potential marijuana providers were hopeful that their provisional licenses would lead to full-fledged, reputable dispensary businesses. Since January of 2014, however, The Department of Public Health has rescinded at least nine of those licenses because of potential issues with the applicants’ finances or medical credibility. While the department is now predicting that some medical marijuana centers will open this winter, many patients who have experienced delay after delay in this process continue to be doubtful about this possibility.

The need for dispensaries is now so great, that even if a few centers open in the upcoming months, they will not be able to accommodate the demand for medical marijuana. Patients across the Commonwealth as young as five and six years old are suffering from debilitating seizure disorders that can be tempered only by regulated marijuana use. They and their parents must watch as other states build centers that give chronically ill individuals access to treatment and to a better quality of life.

Law in Massachusetts does permit patients whose doctors have affirmed the necessity of medical marijuana as part of their therapy to grow a limited number of cannabis plants on their own. But patients are fed up with waiting for Deval Patrick’s administration to make the opening of dispensaries a priority. Some believe that legislators are deliberately putting off action so as to ensure the Governor’s uneventful departure from office in January of 2015. At least one State House spokesperson, the state health secretary John Polanowicz, asserts that these inklings are unwarranted.

Source: Boston Globe September 22, 2014

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