The City of Peabody is recognizing Question 3 for what it really is: a movement in the direction of legalizing recreational marijuana use for the masses and not really an effort to provide needed medical treatment for people in pain from debilitating conditions.
There is a growing body of evidence that marijuana may have some use as a viable medical treatment, under specific circumstances for specific disorders. The problem with Question 3 is that it minimizes the role of the medical professional and gives much of the control of distribution of the drug to non-medical, mostly entrepreneurial business owners.
Peabody city officials are aware of this discrepancy and have voted to ban marijuana dispensaries from the area. Peabody is the eighth town in the Commonwealth to vote against the dispensaries that are supposed to open this year with the passage of Question 3. Other towns are continuing to discuss the issue and many others are awaiting guidelines from the state Department of Public Health which has been tasked with oversight of implementation of the law.
Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt related that the people approaching him and other city officials to open a pot dispensary in his town are not medical professionals. Bettencourt and the other city councilors feel that their stance against the law is more in line with their focus on reducing underage drinking and drug use in Peabody.
The Department of Public Health has until May 1 to develop its regulations that, among other issues, need to clarify how much marijuana constitutes a “60 day supply” (as allowable in the new law) and how the non-medically managed dispensaries will operate. There is already some talk that this deadline will be missed due to the complexity of the law as written and the lack of public infrastructure to support implementation.
More and more municipalities in the Commonwealth are realizing that while a medical marijuana law may have some merit, Question 3, as it was written is crippled with loopholes that will only result in a bigger problem with marijuana than we already have.