The following is a guest column by Marilyn G. Belmonte of the Burlington Drug & Alcohol Task Force:
Massachusetts’ youth smoke marijuana at a rate 30% higher than the national average. Now there is a big question on the horizon that may cause the number of Massachusetts teen marijuana smokers to rise.
Ballot question 3 is stated as follows:
“A yes vote would enact the proposed law eliminating state criminal and civil penalties related to the medical use of marijuana, allowing patients meeting certain conditions to obtain marijuana produced and distributed by new state-regulated centers or, in specific hardship cases, to grow marijuana for their own use.”
We all agree that sick and suffering patients need compassionate care. But there is concern about how this proposed marijuana law will potentially allow greater access to marijuana including to our teens. The proposed law has notable loopholes that require further examination. To educate the public about how this law is written, the Burlington Drug & Alcohol Task Force will hold a community forum on Tuesday October 9 at 7pm in the Murray-Kelly Wing of the Council on Aging at 61 Center Street.
Presentation of the specific details of this controversial proposed law will include:
- No minimum age requirement to purchase marijuana.
- 35 marijuana dispensaries in the state, 5 per county, in the first year. More can open after the first year.
- Non-medical employees will distribute marijuana instead of doctors, nurses, pharmacists or health professionals.
- Legal possession of a 60-day supply of marijuana. The exact amount is undefined.
- Growing marijuana plants in the home.
- Any illness can qualify for marijuana, not just serious or terminal illnesses.
- Marijuana laced foods would also be allowed.
- Marijuana remains illegal under federal law regardless of how Massachusetts votes.
For more information please attend this educational forum on marijuana Tuesday October 9, at 7pm at the Murray Murray-Kelly Wing of the Council on Aging, 61 Center Street, Burlington MA.