Tag Archives: medical marijuana

In my opinion: NO ON QUESTION 4

By Steven R. Maher

Americans are constantly being told that their country is deeply divided and the main political parties cannot work together. Yet an impressive bi-partisan coalition of state officer holders and professional groups has assembled to oppose referendum Question 4, to legalize marijuana.

Among the elected officials opposing Question 4: Governor Charlie Baker (R), Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D), Attorney General Maura Healey (D), and Speaker Robert DeLeo (D). A majority in both branches of the state legislature – 97 lawmakers and 22 senators – went on record in August 2016 as opposing Question 4.

The law enforcement and medical groups opposing the referendum question include all Massachusetts District Attorneys, the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Massachusetts Sheriffs Association, Massachusetts Medical Society, the Association of School Superintendents, the Association for Behavioral Healthcare, and the National Association of Mental Illness (Massachusetts Chapter).

“This law was written to benefit the commercial marijuana industry, will introduce an entirely new pot edibles market, and will harm our families and communities,” charges opponents on www.SafeAndHealthyMA.com, a website urging a no vote. This group claims the following about existing laws and what the new law would bring:

• “Massachusetts has already decriminalized marijuana possession and authorized medical marijuana. People are not being jailed for marijuana use, and have access to it for health reasons. This ballot question is about allowing the national marijuana industry to come into Massachusetts and market and sell marijuana products in our communities.

• “It [legalization] incorporates the laxest ‘home grow’ provision in the country, allowing individual households to grow up to 12 marijuana plants at a value in the tens of thousands of dollars. This provision will have a significant impact on public safety, and has led to the creation of an entirely new black market in Colorado.

• “It specifically authorizes marijuana edibles (products like candy bars and gummy bears), oils and concentrates.

•The new statute “specifically limits communities’ ability to restrict the locations and growth of pot shops. Two years into legalization, Colorado has more marijuana stores than Starbucks and McDonalds combined—and the numbers keep growing.

•”Today’s Marijuana is much more potent than it was even a generation ago. Marijuana for sale in Colorado averages 17% to 18% THC, which is several times more potent than was common in the 1980s.

• “Since becoming the first state to legalize, Colorado has also become the #1 state in the nation for teen marijuana use. Use by teens aged 12-17 jumped by over 12% in the two years since legalization, even as that rate declined nationally.

• “Commercial legalization has led to more fatal car crashes. In Washington, the number of fatal car crashes involving marijuana doubled in the one year since legalization.

• “The marijuana edibles market is dangerous for kids, and a huge part of the commercial industry’s profit model. Marijuana infused products such as candies, cookies, and ‘cannabis cola’ account for nearly 50% of the sales in Colorado, and that number is growing. These products are often indistinguishable from traditional products and attractive to children, placing them at significant risk of accidental use.”

Group favors legalization

The group favoring legalization, www.regulatemass.com, relies less on statistics to make their point. They make some questionable arguments, including the following:

• “[O]piate addiction is causing the real drug crisis in Massachusetts. And there’s a reasonable way to slow the epidemic down: legalizing and regulating marijuana. By avoiding opiates, reducing painful addiction, and protecting families, patients can use marijuana to prevent hitting rock bottom.

• “Marijuana cases cost taxpayers by clogging our legal system.

• “Marijuana arrests ruin lives. Too often young people and people of color can’t find a job or take care of their families because they have a petty arrest record for possessing marijuana.

• “Marijuana is here, no increased police presence is going to change that.

• Unnamed experts “say that taxing marijuana sales will create $100 million in new tax revenue for vital essential services in our communities. We can use the money to strengthen our schools — smaller classes, more books, and newer technology for our children.

• “People of color are 3x more likely to be arrested. Instead of keeping us safe, the “War on Drugs” has ruined the lives of countless people. In Massachusetts, people of color are three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession — a problem that has been getting worse, not better.”

The first quote above – that an acceptable way to treat heroin addicts is to get them stoned on marijuana – has to be the most ludicrous argument made by either side on Question 4.
Dollars and gateway drug

What would be the fiscal impact of legalizing cannabis?

Those favoring legalization claim the state would have tax windfall of $100 million if Question 4 passes. However, the “2016 Ballot Questions” guide sent out by the Secretary of State’s office stated: “A March 2016 report from the Special Select Committee on Marijuana concluded as follows: ‘Tax revenues and fees that would be generated from legal sales may fall short of even covering the full public and social costs (including regulation, enforcement, public health and safety, and substance abuse treatment.’)” This reminds one of the dispute over casino gambling, which Worcester wisely rejected because the human costs were thought to exceed the benefits to the community.

This leaves one final question: with an opioid crisis raging, should a narcotic substance seen by some as a gateway to hard core drug addiction be legalized? That question was answered in the daily by Spectrum Health Service President Charles J. Farris. “We know that not everybody who smokes marijuana is going to go out and become an addict,” Farris said. “But every addict we know that’s come in here started out by smoking marijuana. Who’s going to take the chance that they’re not going to be the one to go on to other things?”

One InCity Times website reader writes…

.. ON the Medical Marijuana ballot question …:

By “Hungry Poet”

I can understand the concerns and hesitancy toward legalizing medical marijuana, particularly when it comes from older generations that went through years and years of Drug War propaganda.

I disagree with the idea of limiting any kind of farmers especially when it is to make way for greater Big Pharma control.

Who is more likely to produce an organic, less adulterated product – a farmer or a pharmacy? The pharmaceutical industry already has Merinol which is a pill form of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) but of course it has a lot of additives and is virtually ineffective.

Also, allowing local growers could help spark a local (tax paying?) industry that currently does not exist.

I think it is naive to think that having certified legal growers will suddenly flood the streets with marijuana, because let’s face it, there are a huge number of folks growing the plant in high abundance already.

Sure the underground market has always and will always exist – and that may be all the more reason to begin rolling back criminalization even further.

In my opinion, the extremely harsh drug laws needn’t apply to such a harmless substance. The War on Drugs failed and only created a terrible black market and filled our prisons (one in one hundred males behind bars in this country, more than all other nations in the world COMBINED).

The battle against marijuana seems to a generational battle that is slowly easing up as younger and younger folks, unaffected by the Reagan days and Bush1 created crack epidemic, simply do not see the herb as a danger.

In fact, many are educated on the uses and benefits of all types of natural herbs and plants as alternative and preventative medicines. Particularly as an awareness of Big Pharma and the FDAs corrupt abuses of power grows.

Most young folks have had enough of the synthetic drug pushing pharmaceutical world battling against easily available (and cheap in comparison) herbal alternatives.

As a side note, if other more liberal states like CA or RI are any indication – these dispensaries and growing operations will be so tightly watched and monitored that there is very minimal significant risk either one of these industries would conduct illegal activity. Again, let’s not think that an item like marijuana is really that hard to come by or grow right now with the current laws in place.

Vote NO on medical marijuana ballot question Nov. 6

By Steven R. Maher

On November 6, Massachusetts voters will decide whether marijuana can be prescribed for medicinal purposes. Because I believe the proposal contains a distribution flaw, I am going to vote no.

I downloaded from the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office the ballot question. It reads in part: “This proposed law would eliminate state criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marijuana by qualifying patients. To qualify, a patient must have been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition, such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV-positive status or AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, or multiple sclerosis. The patient would also have to obtain a written certification, from a physician with whom the patient has a bona fide physician-patient relationship, that the patient has a specific debilitating medical condition and would likely obtain a net benefit from medical use of marijuana. “

As someone who suffers from Parkinson disease (see the InCity Times December 26, 2011), I believe patients who would obtain a “net benefit” should be allowed, with a doctor’s approval, to use medical marijuana. It is the following section that bothers me: “The proposed law would allow for non-profit medical marijuana treatment centers to grow, process and provide marijuana to patients or their caregivers.”

Under this scenario, the treatment centers that grow the marijuana would “provide” the product to the patient. There have been problems in other states using this approach. Inevitably, if Massachusetts adopts this question, there will be a seepage in the supply chain and legally produced marijuana will end up being sold by illegal drug dealers. This looks like a process that would be ripe for organized crime penetration, whether it is the traditional Mafia or one of its third world imitators.

The link needs to broken between the legal medical marijuana producer and the patient. If marijuana is going to be prescribed as a medication, it should be processed through a pharmacy like any other medication. Medical treatment centers should market their marijuana to retailers, not medically stricken patients. The doctor can write a prescription, the patient can take it to the local CVS, Walgreen’s or other pharmacy, and get it filled. A pharmacist should process prescriptions, not farmers or treatment centers.

Why pot and medicine don’t mix

By William T. Breault

To our state legislators:

You are considering important legislation – HB 2160 – that would establish a “medical” marijuana program in Massachusetts. There have been many half truths and mis-perceptions swirling around this controversial issue. It’s important to set the record straight.

Who really uses “medical” marijuana?

Advocates of the legislation claim that “medical” marijuana helps seriously ill people with cancer or AIDS or glaucoma. They paint a picture of elderly ill people who need it for pain relief. However, “medical” marijuana patient records from California show that 62% [of patients] were between 17 and 35 years of age; and 71% were between ages 17 and 40. Only 2.05% of customers obtained physician recommendations for AIDS, glaucoma or cancer. An extremely high number of people were using “medical” marijuana for other purposes. Source: Report from the San Diego County District Attorney

The bill makes it very easy to get marijuana.

This legislation makes it very easy to get marijuana. If you are over age 18, you can obtain marijuana by claiming to have a “medical condition” and pain or spasms or nausea and receive a medical marijuana card from a physician after a quick examination. Continue reading Why pot and medicine don’t mix