Medical Marijuana Requires Further Action

Aug 21—The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition/National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Mass Cann/NORML) held a committee meeting on the fifteenth floor in the One Beacon Street building. Open to the public, the meeting had around 25 people in attendance. Food and drinks were offered before chairwoman Nichole Snow opened the event talking about MCR Labs’ sponsorship and what Mass Cann/NORML does. 

Mass Cann was founded in 1989 for the reform of marijuana laws. Their mission is “to build a consensus for a more moral and rational public policy regarding all uses of the cannabis plant,” and “to educate and motivate the masses to protest and help end prohibition.” Snow also explained, “MCR Labs is an ISO-accredited laboratory for the testing of medical- and adult-use cannabis located in Framingham, Massachusetts.”

One of the main goals of Mass Cann/NORML is using Massachusetts law to make medical marijuana more accessible to patients. Snow explained how “right now, the medical marijuana program is being governed under the Massachusetts Department of Public Health”, and that “[their] organization actually pushed the Department of Public Health to print the cards," reason being that it was something they had to do because "those cards are a mechanism of protection for a lot of special class people.” 

The organization intends to represent patients who aren't necessarily the ones we always think about walking in and accessing a dispensary. THey aim to make the program more accessible in a few ways: through physician education, through their primary care physician, through a reference to a third party, through a specialist, or through hospice.

Patients have different rights than recreational users. They can grow more, carry more, and have more allowances. The problem is nothing is strictly written out as is. During the question portion of the meeting, Snow explained, “Right now, as I’m hearing is, law enforcement is very confused, landlords are very confused; we just had a serious situation where a patient was pushed out of their home.” She talked about how they try to explain what the patient’s rights are to landlords and law enforcement but, “until the commission actually comes out with regular, standardized guidance, I don’t think really anyone knows, but we’re trying our best.”

Michael Latulippe, development director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, also talked about adult user vs medicinal usage rights during the Q&A: “There’s protections in court, in probation, if you ever get in a situation where you are on probation for any reason whatsoever, if you have a medical marijuana card, it’s a lot more likely the judge or the probation officer is going to work with you and allow you to continue to use your medical marijuana. Whereas if you’re an adult consumer, those protections are not going to exist.”

A few people asked more questions but the conversation ended on dispensaries, what they mean for recreational and medical users, and how a supply will coexist in the shop. After the full meeting and subsequent discussion, people were able to sign up to be a member of Mass Cann/NORML and talk to the committee about further action they will take.

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