, Salem, MA

October 16, 2012

Letter: Will vote no on medicinal marijuana

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

I understand why individuals suffering with cancer, HIV or chronic pain may want access to the active ingredients in marijuana.

And yet, I am voting noon Ballot Question 3.

Here is why:

The infrastructure proposed in Question 3 is flawed. If it is enacted:

Marijuana could be grown at home, and an undefined “60-day supply” could be carried.

Thirty-five dispensaries could open in the first year with no clear limit on future growth. (Vermont currently has only two locked facilities and Maine only eight.)

There is no system for tracking production or distribution. Individuals with a state card could obtain multiple doses from multiple dispensaries or growers.

There is no expiration date on a “medical recommendation.” Physicians would not have the normal prescription renewal process to monitor the patients’ status and potential drug interactions. The Massachusetts Medical Society opposes the legalization of medical marijuana.

The cost for public health oversight and law enforcement at the state and local levels has not been determined.

Ballot Question 3 is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”lacking implementation safeguards, and full of loopholes.

Instead of a ballot question, Massachusetts’ approach to medical marijuana is more appropriately addressed through the legislative process. This would allow safeguards to be ironed out and unintended outcomes to be more fully considered.

I will support future medical marijuana legislation that ensures systematic accountability and maximizes safety in the production and distribution of the drug.

Until then, I will vote no on Question 3.

Stephanie Meegan