Legislature To Refine Medical Marijuana Law
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Legislature To Refine Medical Marijuana Law
Posted by CN Staff on November 07, 2012 at 15:44:17 PT
By Donna Boynton, Telegram & Gazette Staff
Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette 
Massachusetts -- Relief is one step closer for patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions now that voters have approved a measure to legalize medicinal marijuana. Supporters say the next step is move forward with fine-tuning a bill to bring to the state Legislature, while opponents say marijuana is not proven medicine and its medical use will be closely watched.Voters approved Question 3 yesterday, with 63 percent supporting the measure to allow the medical use of marijuana by eliminating the state criminal and civil penalties for patients being found in possession of the drug. Patients qualify for using marijuana by having a debilitating medical condition and obtaining a written certification from a doctor with whom they have medical relationship.
Under the law, a patient would be allowed to possess a 60-day supply of marijuana and to designate a personal caregiver over the age of 21 to assist with the plant’s medical use. Both the patient and the designated caregiver will have to register with the state’s Department of Public Health.In addition, the law would allow for medical marijuana treatment centers to register with the state DPH in order to grow and distribute marijuana to patients and their designated caregivers."The people of Massachusetts have spoken and we are ready to begin crafting regulation and oversight procedures. We look forward to working closely with patients and the state to ensure an implementation process that will make the Massachusetts medical marijuana program the safest and most secure medical treatment program in the country," said Matt Allen, Executive Director Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance.The question was also supported by the Massachusetts Nurses Association.“We are very encouraged by its passing and the opportunity it will present to patients who are suffering,” David Schildmeier, spokesman for the Massachusetts Nurses Association, adding that the focus is now on fine-tuning the bill. Mr. Schildmeier said the Massachusetts Nurses Association supported Question 3 because nurses are on the front lines treating patients and understand the benefits medicinal marijuana could have on certain conditions.“Medical marijuana is a treatment that can assist in care and recovery,” Mr. Schilemeier said. “It won’t happen immediately, but once there is a process in place to acquire marijuana, it can be very effective in a number of medical conditions controlling the symptoms and side effects from other medications.”Meanwhile, the Massachusetss Medical Association, which opposed the measure, holds fast to its belief that marijuana is not proven medicine. “It has not been subjected to the same rigorous testing and trials as other drugs approved by the Federal Drug Administration and used every day in practice by physicians,” Dr. Richard Aghababian, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society said in a statement.The MMS has asked the Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana in order to conduct research and clinical trials to determine its medical value.“Until its effectiveness is proven clinically and accepted by the FDA, we urge physicians to refrain from recommending it to their patients,” Dr. Aghababian said. “Above all, the prescribing of drugs by a physician should be based on clinical and medical evidence, not by popular vote. Further, we will closely monitor the impact of this law and will not hesitate to recommend changes if necessary.” Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)Author: Donna Boynton, Telegram & Gazette StaffPublished: November 7, 2012Copyright: 2012 Worcester Telegram & GazetteContact: letters telegram.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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