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Medical Marijuana Patients Face Arrests In Central Ma Despite New Law


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Patients throughout Massachusetts are being arrested for medical marijuana possession– an issue that stems from the state not having registration cards – even though


they are qualified and have documentation proving that they can have the substance.


While much of the focus on the implementation of medical marijuana in Massachusetts has gone toward advancing and vetting the dispensaries, advocates are becoming


increasingly concerned this issue and others are being overlooked, harming the patients that this law set out to help.


“The more we see delays and problems with the dispensary process, the more we are becoming concerned with some of the other issues facing patients,” said Matthew


Allen, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Patients Advocacy Alliance. “Because of delays to the patient registration system, we are still having patients being arrested


even though they have the proper qualifications. And if caregivers were allowed to supply to more than one patient then it would certainly be a viable option and alternative.”

State law currently prohibits caregivers from selling to more than one patient; something that advocates say restricts the program to the point where it isn’t a viable option.


And while law dictates that doctor’s notes are an adequate form of showing one’s qualification to carry and use medical marijuana, local police have been using discretion


in these situations, which often leads to an arrest.


Getting Patients Adequate Care


Allen says that patients are being greatly harmed by a lack of implementation of many of the key aspects of this program that should already be in place.


A one-to-one patient to caregiver ratio is something that Allen says will never work; cost effectiveness, a lack of caregivers in the state, and the amount of time that it takes


a caregiver to set up an operation and grow product are all reasons pointing to the program’s ineffectiveness.


Ultimately, Allen and other advocates feel that the burden is beginning to rest on the shoulders of Deval Patrick and his administration. Because many of these key aspects


of the medical marijuana program are not being enforced and held to their original timetables, patients are the ones that are ultimately suffering.





“There has been no motion on these issues,” said Allen. “These laws were written in a way that they would be beneficial to the patients that need access to medical


marijuana. Through all of these delays, patients are suffering because they can’t get access to the medicine they need, and when they do, they face the potential to be


arrested, even though they have gone through the necessary steps.”


Safety is Paramount


Advocates have long been upset with the Department of Public Health, but according to their Medical Use of Marijuana program, the priority leans more toward safety for


patients rather than the speed in which they get all aspects of the program up and running.


The Medical Use of Marijuana program is lagging behind many of the initial requirements for opening dispensaries and implementing other portions of the program, but


there are those that feel that the safety of the patients much outweighs the need for the substance itself. Not allowing caregivers to provide marijuana to more than one


patient ensures that they don’t become an unregulated dispensary, selling without the regulations of the program.


“Patient access is a critical pillar of this program. Our process is centered on approving the highest quality dispensaries in order to ensure that patients have access to


safe, regulated, products,” said Scott Zoback, Communications Manager for the Department of Public Health’s Medical Use of Marijuana program. “We are proud that 97


percent of residents will be within 30 miles of a provisionally certified dispensary, and that our Open County Application process will fill additional locations, ensuring even


more access across the Commonwealth.”



Edited by bobandtorey
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Yeah but do you see how easy this is for journalists?  All they need to do is to get the articles from the previous state to approve medical cannabis and plug in a new state name and new patient advocate name and viola, they have their article all written!


It is a shame that each state has to fight the same battles on the same issues as the last state.  All the while patients get blindsided, arrested, and put through the grinder of the justice system.

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