Massachusetts Voters Poised To Legalize Medical Marijuana


The Daily Chronic

Massachusetts voters will get the chance Tuesday to make their state the 18th in the country to legalize cannabis for certain medicinal uses with a doctor’s authorization. Question 3 proposes the elimination of state penalties for the use of medical marijuana by patients with chronic or debilitating medical conditions.

The ballot issue calls for relatively tight regulation of medical marijuana, according to Steve Fox, director of government relations for the advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project, reports Stephanie Haven at The Tufts Daily.
“We’ve learned from [California’s law], and we now draft initiatives so only those who need [medical marijuana]can get it,” Fox said. (Of course, it isn’t up to Fox — or anyone except you and your doctor — to determine if you “need” medical marijuana.)
A poll was released and conducted by Public Policy Polling regarding the measure in late August. It revealed that 58 percent of those surveyed are in favor of medical marijuana.

The actual question that was asked read: “Question 3 would eliminate state criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marijuana by qualifying patients. If the election was today, would you vote yes or no on Question 3?”
“Some people may not be ready for it to be legal for all adults, but there are some seriously ill patients who could really benefit from it and it’s really unfair to subject those people to arrest,” Fox said.
Four years ago, Massachusetts voters decriminalized non-medical marijuana by voter initiative, the same process through which medicinal cannabis could be legalized in Tuesday’s vote.
Although some polls have recently shown declining support for Question 3, 55 percent of 600 likely Massachusetts voters support the medical marijuana measure, with 38 percent opposing it, according to a KCTS-9 poll, reports Alison Vekshin at Bloomberg Businessweek.
The initiative is backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance and the Committee for Compassionate Medicine.
Opposing medical marijuana in Massachusetts are the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association (surprise, surprise) and the Massachusetts Medical Society (beholden to Big Pharma and its fat prescription kickbacks, no doubt).
The ballot language of the measure reads as follows:
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.

A NO VOTE would make no change in existing laws.