Pubdate: Tue, 01 Jan 2013
Source: Eagle-Tribune, The (MA)
Copyright: 2013 The Eagle-Tribune


BOSTON - State Sen. John Keenan (D-Quincy) had hoped to postpone
implementation of the medical marijuana law passed by voters in
November, but he said he sees no route to push the timetable back.

"There was some hope, but a lot of things would have had to aligned,"
Keenan said during a recess in end-of-session legislating yesterday.

Department of Public Health officials have indicated they want more
time to implement the law, which will allow doctors' notes to enable
patients' use of medical marijuana. Keenan said he would attempt to
address the issue next session.

"We'll take it up after the first of the year," Keenan

Keenan had previously said he might try to amend an end-of-session
bill to include a delay. The law is set to take effect Jan. 1.

After voters approved the medical marijuana ballot law, state public
health officials released a statement indicating they would work in
the "coming months" with health care and public safety officials "to
develop smart and balanced policies and procedures."

The state's Executive Office of Health and Human Services yesterday
issued the following statement: "The Massachusetts Department of
Public Health is in the process of developing regulations that will
allow qualifying patients with certain medical conditions to obtain
and use medical marijuana. Under the ballot measure approved by
voters, DPH has until May 1, 2013 to issue regulations and DPH will
not issue any registration cards or allow any medical marijuana
dispensaries to open until the regulations are in effect."

The department also stated it is working with public safety officials,
the medical community and community officials to develop the
regulations. Under the ballot measure, doctors can "act as a medical
marijuana registration card."

"Similarly, the law allows a qualifying patient to cultivate their own
limited supply of marijuana during this period," the statement reads.
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