On November 6, Massachusetts voters will have the opportunity to say YES to offering patients suffering from debilitating diseases the same treatment available in seventeen others states by regulating access to medical marijuana.
From the ballot question:
A YES VOTE would enact the proposed law eliminating state criminal and civil
penalties related to the medical use of marijuana allowing patients meeting certain
conditions to obtain marijuana produced and distributed by new state-regulated
centers or, in specific hardship cases, to grow marijuana for their own use.
Read the Secretary of State’s summary of the ballot question.
For many patients suffering from debilitating illness, medical marijuana has proven highly effective as a pain management tool, an appetite stimulant, a way to decrease nausea and vomiting, a muscle relaxant and an alternative to heavy prescription painkillers.
The Commonwealth’s prohibition on medical marijuana means that patients and their physicians are unable to consider the full spectrum of medical treatments available. In providing compassionate care, it should be up to the doctor and his or her patient to decide the best course of treatment.
Patients Who Will Be Helped by This Initiative
Only patients with debilitating conditions, such as cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other conditions as determined in writing by a patient’s physician will qualify to participate in the medical marijuana program.
Why Medical Marijuana Will Work in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts initiative is based on the best practices of seventeen other states and the District of Columbia. The hallmark of the initiative is state regulation. It requires that doctors writing recommendations have a bona fide relationship with their patients and that the state verifies all recommendations.
A patient would be able to obtain medical marijuana from a limited number of state regulated non-profit treatment centers. The petition creates a safe and well regulated framework for patients to access medical marijuana under the care of their doctor. There will be a maximum of 35 treatment centers in the state, with no more than five treatment centers in any one county.
This initiative will be the safest medical marijuana law in the country. It creates a new felony for anyone who defrauds the medical marijuana system with a penalty of up to five years in prison for distribution. A person who now faces a mere civil fine for possession of less than an ounce could be facing a criminal conviction and a jail sentence if they defraud the medical marijuana system.
Broad-Based Support for Medical Marijuana
The American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, Institute of Medicine, National Cancer Institute, and state medical societies of Rhode Island, California, and New York have attested to the significant therapeutic benefits of marijuana.
Supporters Across Massachusetts
The AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod, Massachusetts Nurses Association, Massachusetts Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, New England Coalition of Cancer Survivorship, Western Mass AIDS Foundation and over 1,200 licensed doctors in Massachusetts support safe access to medical marijuana for patients with a doctor’s recommendation.
It is time that patients suffering in Massachusetts have the same treatment options as those in neighboring states of Maine, Vermont, and Rhode Island, as well as fourteen other states and the District of Columbia.
[source: Committee for Compassionate Medicine]