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Medical Marijuana Law Confused in Massachusetts

Implementation of the new medical marijuana law in Massachusetts grows increasingly confusing. The companies that were granted preliminary approval of a license to grow and dispense medical marijuana are on hold as the Commonwealth and Department of Public Health sort out the apparently flawed decision-making process. Some of the bidders who were not granted licenses are crying foul and calling for a “do-over”.

Three of the 20 licenses granted were awarded to companies connected to former state legislator William Delahunt, raising some serious concerns about cronyism. Other apparent flaws in the process are also being examined and may result in litigation. The Commonwealth has back-tracked stating that only “preliminary “ approval has been granted.
In a recent development, a state judge decided that the licensing process, however flawed must move forward. A spokesman for the Commonwealth’s Public Health Department said the organization was still checking the remaining 20 applicants, including background checks on anyone involved with the proposed dispensaries.

Law enforcement officials are trying to sort out who should be arrested for possession of marijuana. Although the new law states that someone may be allowed to possess and cultivate marijuana for their own use, with a doctor’s note, there is no “official” form on which this note is to be provided. With a doctor’s note, someone is supposed to be allowed to hold up to 10 ounces of weed for their own use. Previously in the Commonwealth, anything over an ounce would bring a criminal change. To complicate matters further, the federal government still considers possession and use of marijuana as illegal.

As many who forged absence notes from parents when in school, local police often are skeptical when someone in possession of a suitable quantity of weed produces a note, ostensibly from a doctor.

The law was passed last November and was supposed to go into effect January 1 of this year but a series of mis-steps by government officials has resulted in a de-facto postponement of the medical marijuana program planned in the law. Many people managing chronic pain and many others who just like the buzz are hoping this postponement ends soon.

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