Mass Department of Public Health to Draft Medical Marijuana Regulations


The Massachusetts DPH is scheduled to file a draft of the state’s official medical marijuana measures by next Friday.

The deadline for the filing of a state mandate on the voter-approved use of medicinal marijuana in the Bay State is vastly approaching and the public awaits the criteria for its legal consumption.

The Massachusetts Public Health Council, which is comprised of local physicians, educational directors, and home care professionals, will review the proposed regulations on April 10 to decide whether it speaks to the benefit of the health field in the state.

On Wednesday Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley took a more immediate step towards the creation of Massachusetts dispensaries when she announced that total bans by a specific town or city was not allowed. This leaves the decision in the hands of state-appointed and qualified officials as opposed to allowing each town to determine if a legal organization can settle within their borders as Wakefield, Reading and Melrose already attempted.

“Some towns are resistant and others are more welcoming,” said Matt Simon who is a representative of the Marijuana Policy Project. “Trying to find towns that are most comfortable with what’s happening is a good idea for dispensary owners.” He also stated enforcement of the regulations is up to dispensary owners to deal with local resistance in order to create an effective program.

The initiative received 63 percent of the DPH’s votes and permits a limit of 35 legal medicinal dispensaries within the state at any given time, or one per county.

“The better job [dispensary owners] are able to do of getting local approval and making local officials and governments comfortable with these facilities and where they’re operated will contribute to the success of the program,” Simon said.

The parameters of the law passed in November insist on direct outlines for zoning privileges and start up processes for dispensaries as well as appropriate quantities and values for the prospective medical marijuana users and caregivers. The DPH has the ability to either mimic the policies already established in other states or create a truly distinct set of standards that appeal to each institution that has its hat in the ring.

“Keeping it nonprofit means that people are not trying to make a quick buck off of the program,” Simon said. “A lot of people are more comfortable with that idea of dispensaries being nonprofit.”


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