Massachusetts is scrambling to implement a new medical marijuana law that was passed with so many loopholes that legislators are already proposing new legislation to avoid what could turn the law into a blatant legalization of the drug.
One of these loopholes was just clarified by the state's Department of Public Health, the agency tasked with developing guidelines and implementing the law. DPH has until May 1 to complete this task but to address this tight time frame has stated that:
“During the time DPH is crafting its regulations, the ballot measure allows the written recommendation of a qualifying patient’s physician to act as a medical marijuana registration card. Similarly, the law allows a qualifying patient to cultivate their own limited supply of marijuana during this period.”
So, it looks like the party has already begun. The Massachusetts Medical Society has stated previously that they are unprepared to implement the law and have requested more time for training and discussion.
Many entrepreneurs are jumping into the Massachusetts marketplace to take advantage of what may be a wide open market that will open this year thanks to the new Medical Marijuana law.
Companies that have already gained experience in other markets such as California or Colorado are inquiring about bringing their businesses to the Commonwealth. Many of them are adept at marketing and advertising. This includes packaging marijuana in attractive containers, with exciting names and displaying the product like candy in a super market.
Senator Keenan's proposed bill suggests replacing the idea of 35 retail “dispensaries” with 10 regional warehouses. Instead of retail outlets, the system would operate like a wholesaler with couriers delivering the drug directly to the user.
The US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that legalized dispensaries in other states have run into problems with edible marijuana products, a typical offering in the retail outlets. Brownies, cookies and lollypops made with cannabis is “often dispensed without FDA or health department oversight” that puts the user at risk for numerous medical complications.
The party atmosphere that some so-called providers of medical marijuana advocate, makes it clear that the underlying intent is recreational and not medical use.
Brownies, cookies, lollipops, offered in brightly cases with catchy names such as Mowi Wowi and artful bongs and pipes is not what you would find in a pharmacy or doctor's office.
If this is truly a medical marijuana program, let's keep it medical.