Massachusetts was never intended to have it easy as far as medical marijuana was concerned. Even after Question 3 was voted for, which consequently legalized cannabis use for medical purposes, there was some doubt that this will not go down well. And it appears those doubts were justified. For instance, not even one medical dispensary has been opened in Massachusetts so far and some people are hoping it stays that way. In fact, several communities and town have gone through significant effort to see if there’s any chance they could prevent medical marijuana dispensaries from opening in their neighborhoods. Some even went so far as to pass zoning bylaws and are currently waiting for if the A.G. Office will approve them or not. If it does, it would set a legal precedent that would make the lives of medical marijuana patients in Massachusetts even more difficult.
Will The Ban Be Implemented?
Wakefield, Reading and Melrose have allowed similar dispensary bans and A.G. M. Coakley has a couple of more days to state her opinion on the matter. Basically, somewhere around March 21st, we’ll know a bit more on whether the dispensary bans can work despite state laws. The local health director, Ruth Clay, recently went public on why she believes medical marijuana dispensaries are bad for the community.
Mrs. Clay claims it’s not a moral matter; there are no ethical problems with the fact that patients need to consume marijuana in order to feel better. She believes that patients should be given access to less harmful drugs such as marijuana. However, she’s not too fond of Question 3 as she questions its legitimacy and the manner in which it was written as it left too many unresolved issues. Plus, the entire state seems to be lacking a hefty amount of proper regulations, which would provide a safe environment for everyone involved in the community.
Poor Regulations Are To Blame
The majority of three mentioned communities believe that if the dispensaries were properly regulated, they wouldn’t have a problem with their openings. However, those very same communities have a long history of substance abuse and they don’t want history repeating anytime soon. That’s probably the main reason why they don’t want to have the dispensaries opened; they simply don’t want to see weed falling into the wrong hands and want to keep children and recreational users as far away as possible. In addition, Reading and Melrose have Drug Free Community grants, which enable them to fight substance abuse on a local level. Clay believes that opening dispensaries in such an environment would be contradictory and would send out a wrong message.
Solely Medicinal Users
However, when asked why she is so afraid of kids getting access to the drug if that’s one of the main reason we have regulations in the first place, Mrs. Ruth said that she has seen an increase in marijuana use with kids in states that allowed opening dispensaries; i.e. Colorado. We would love to see that statistical data as soon as possible since there is evident research of overall marijuana consumption marking a decrease in states that legalized marijuana for medical purposes since patients didn’t have to buy weed on the street anymore. Plus, Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use, not just for medical purposes so that doesn’t really make sense. As much as some of her fears are justified, some don’t make sense whatsoever. To conclude, even though the “dispensary ban” is necessarily not in line with the community’s vision, you cannot ignore the voters’ decision and cities are not allowed to undermine federal laws. Therefore, we don’t really see how this will hold up on a state level.