Medical Marijuana Dispensary Regulations Finalized

Massachusetts health officials have finalized the rules and the amount of medical marijuana for patients. Six months after Massachusetts voters approved medical marijuana, the state’s public health council unanimously passed regulations allowing clinics to open. Under the regulations, doctors can only prescribe marijuana to patients suffering illnesses like cancer, glaucoma, aids or other – quote – debilitating conditions.  Debilitating conditions are defined as those that “cause weakness, wasting syndrome, intractable pain or nausea or impairing strength or ability and progressing to such an extent that one or more major life activities are substantially limited.” DPH interim commissioner Lauren smith says the regulations try to make sure medical marijuana is used appropriately:

“We wanted to make sure that our ballot measure was implemented in a way that allowed folks that needed it to get the medical marijuana but was very clear that folks who didn’t need it, shouldn’t.”

The regulations impose a limit of 10 ounces every 60 days.  If patients live too far away from a dispensaries or are too sick to leave the house, they can  grow their own marijuana at home. Smith says it will be a while before the first dispensary can open. The Department of Public Health plans to license up to 35 dispensaries around the state.  But a community probably can stop a dispensary through local zoning or siting laws.  Even though the Attorney General ruled that cities and towns can’t enact outright bans on dispensaries. The new rules officially go into effect on May 24th.  The first dispensaries would probably not begin operating before the end of the year.