Medical Marijuana in Massachusetts

BY COREY HENNEBERY // FEB. 13, 2013 //

In the 2012 election, Massachusetts passed Question 3 on the ballot, which allows patients to use marijuana in a medical capacity. This makes Massachusetts the 18th state to pass such a law. Neighbors Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont have also legalized medical marijuana.

Doctor-approved patients with proper documentation, or “Green Cards,” issued by the state may have a 60-day supply of cannabis for personal use. In some special cases, patients (usually elderly) can be prescribed a 120-day supply.

Medical marijuana dispensaries, such as this one, are coming to Massachusetts. // PHOTO BY http://www.flickr.com/photos/goodnight_london/4769506826/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Medical marijuana dispensaries, such as this one, are coming to Massachusetts. // PHOTO BY http://www.flickr.com/photos/goodnight_london/4769506826/sizes/m/in/photostream/

The law authorizes the medical use of marijuana for the treatment of “cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis” and other conditions, as determined in writing by a qualified physician.

It also allows for 35 distribution outlets in the state’s 14 counties. The state has mapped it out and will have at least one outlet in every county. The necessary protocol and paperwork to set these dispensaries up will take years to finalize.

For anyone out there who might think they’ll be able to get their hands on an endless supply of medical marijuana this summer, know this: it’s not that simple. The first dispensaries in both Arizona and New Jersey, which passed similar legislation in 2010, only opened this past December.

As a nation, we seem to be on our way to the full legalization of marijuana (with strict regulations, of course). Washington state and Colorado have already legalized it, and the federal government has said that it won’t fight the states’ new law.

In the meantime, the ball is rolling in terms of making medical marijuana available to patients here in Massachusetts.

Marijuana can improve lives in many ways, even if it’s something as simple as a pain reliever, stress reducer, or sleep aid. There are also plenty of people who have used it, or could potentially benefit from using it, as medicine.

Despite what the stigmas may be, marijuana is becoming an increasingly more acceptable part of today’s society, and the passing of recent medical marijuana bills is proof.

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