Public Hearing Scheduled for Proposed Medical Marijuana Regulations
Massachusetts public health officials will hold public hearings Friday in Northampton, Boston, and Plymouth on proposed regulations for the state's new medical marijuana law. Voters legalized the medical use of the drug in a ballot measure last November, and the department of public health released draft regulations late last month.
Medical marijuana officially became legal in January, but the department of public health won't issue regulations on the drug until May 1st. The proposed regulations would require patients seeking a prescription to have a debilitating medical condition, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's disease, and ALS. But they would also allow physicians to decide if a patient who has another condition could benefit from medical marijuana. Patients can then be prescribed a 60-day supply. The regulations define that amount as 10 ounces of the drug.
Under the law, patients will receive marijuana from non-profit dispensaries. The regulations would require dispensaries to grow their pot on-site, banning wholesale production. Dispensaries would be required to provide a discount to low-income patients. Dispensaries would also be subject to municipal laws. Several towns throughout the state have already made efforts to prohibit dispensaries from setting up shop.
Massachusetts is the 18th state to legalize medical marijuana. The drug is still illegal under federal law.
The public hearing in Northampton starts at 10 a.m. at the Look Park Garden House. For the full draft regulations, click here.