Today, Feb. 14, at the Public Health Department, the PHD, many speakers urged Massachusetts health officials to ease restrictions that decide the conditions for which medical marijuana can be used. Many people, particularly those with debilitating and painful diseases and illnesses, have petitioned to have doctors instead decide when marijuana should be used.
About 200, 50 of whom spoke, at Roxbury Community College were present for the second listening session hosted by the PHD as it gets ready to draft Massachusetts' medical marijuana regulations. Massachusetts constituents voted to legalize medical marijuana through a ballot initiative this past November. Civil and criminal penalties were eliminated for the use of marijuana by people with cancer, Parkinson’s disease, AIDS and other serious conditions.
Regulations are required by law to be in by May 1, but public health officials have said that it will likely take longer due to the several complex issues they have to address adequately for Massachusetts state law.
State regulation of medical marijuana is the next biggest hurdle for proponents to jump. Because it is still considered a federal crime, health officials have to be cautious of how they regulate the growing industry in Massachusetts. Officials also have to determine which pesticides and fungicides can be used for the marijuana plant.
Federal regulation agencies are staying mum on the pot topic because of its continued national illegality, forcing states to start from scratch to protect consumers from pot that could be tainted by mold, mildew or unwanted chemicals.
Whatever regulatory mechanism states choose, there is much reliable product history to base these regulations off of. This is especially troubling when trying to identify all of the serious safety risks involved with growing, storing, and consuming marijuana.
And for those of you who were wondering, pot brownies look like they're going to be a no. Dave Morgan, a retired pharmacist who heads Weymouth’s Substance Abuse Prevention Team, spoke at today's session and argued that allowing edible marijuana such as cookies or candies, something 17 other states have legalized in their medical marijuana laws, would be subject to severe abuse.