The medical marijuana ballot initiative Question 3 passed statewide in this November’s Presidential Election, with 63 percent of Massachusetts voters supporting it.
Only two communities statewide – Mendon and Lawrence – voted against Question 3. Stoughton voters favored it 60% to 40%, showing that the negative stigma associated with medical marijuana is changing.
The law would eliminate state criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marijuana by qualifying patients. It allows patients meeting certain conditions to obtain medical marijuana produced and distributed by new state-regulated centers or, in specific hardship cases, to grow medical marijuana for their own use.
The new law would allow for up to 35 non-profit medical marijuana treatment centers to grow, process and provide marijuana to patients or their caregivers.
Proponents argue medical marijuana will ease the suffering of thousands of people with cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, and other debilitating conditions.
Advocates in the Legislature have attempted to pass medical marijuana legislation in Massachusetts for many years, but encountered stiff opposition along the way. This has all been erased with the passing of the new law, which will take effect on January 1, 2013.
Within 120 days of the law’s effective date, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is required to issue regulations for the implementation of sections of the law dealing with registration of dispensaries (referred to as “nonprofit medical marijuana treatment centers”); registration of treatment center employees; hardship cultivation registrations for patients whose financial hardship, physical incapacity, or remote location is verified; and the issuance of registration cards for qualifying patients and caregivers.
The new law provides the Massachusetts DPH with extensive discretion on how to implement its provisions, including the registration and application process for patients, medical marijuana treatment centers and dispensaries. A review of the law suggests that these entities are required to provide only basic information such as names, addresses and, in some cases, “operating procedures”.
So, medical marijuana is coming to Massachusetts and that could turn out to be a very good thing for entrepreneurs in the Bay State looking to break into this lucrative industry. Luckily for those with enough drive and capital, companies such as DispenesaryPermits.com have been launched to provide potential medical marijuana dispensary owners with expert consultation services.
On the company’s website, comprehensive dispensary plan packages and business plans are offered that provide prospective dispensary owners with everything they need to obtain a Massachusetts dispensary license. DispensaryPermits.com urges anyone who is seriously interested in opening up a Massachusetts dispensary to begin preparing for the application due to the fact that the DPH will soon begin issuing its regulations within 120 days of the January 1st implementation date.