Pubdate: Tue, 26 Nov 2013
Source: Boston Herald (MA)
Copyright: 2013 The Boston Herald, Inc
Note: Prints only very short LTEs.
Author: Hillary Chabot


William Delahunt - who once vowed as a lawman to hit pot peddlers 
"where it hurts" - is looking to enter the multi-million dollar 
medical marijuana business by opening three dispensaries, saying he 
changed his tune after hearing testimony from pain sufferers who get 
relief from weed.

"No one has ever died of a marijuana overdose," said Delahunt, a 
former Norfolk County district attorney and congressman who joined a 
team of doctors to create the nonprofit Medical Marijuana of 
Massachusetts. The group is seeking three of the 35 licenses set to 
be handed out by the Department of Public Health by Jan. 31.

"When you hear the testimony in Congress and on Beacon Hill, you can 
understand why this is necessary," Delahunt said.

As a district attorney in the 1990s, Delahunt pledged to "hit them 
where it hurts" after two men were arrested with 50 pounds of 
marijuana. Asked yesterday why he pushed for stiffer laws against 
marijuana dealers, he said, "They weren't using it then for medicinal 

Delahunt - who said he has never smoked pot himself - was once famous 
for taking vacations at Hedonism II, an "adult resort" in Jamaica 
renowned for its nude beach, toga parties and rampant reefer toking.

The Quincy Democrat is now seeking to open medical marijuana 
dispensaries - which could rake in millions of dollars through 
legalized sales - in Mashpee, Plymouth and Taunton.

Delahunt said he decided he would be open about the process when he 
joined the team of doctors.

"I told them that if I'm going to get involved, you have to create a 
group that's multidisciplined, that has a background in public safety 
and addiction and treatment," he said.

Department of Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett is expected 
to select members of a commission within the next few weeks who will 
review the 100 applications and give recommendations, said spokesman 
David Kibbe. Bartlett will make the final choice on who receives the 
licenses by Jan. 31.

Kibbe said license requests will be judged impartially, and Delahunt 
won't get any favored treatment.

Bay State voters approved a ballot question allowing medical 
marijuana for patients with debilitating illnesses more than a year 
ago. Applicants began filing last summer, and those who made it 
through the first round need to file site-specific plans backed up 
with a letter of support from the community.

Bartlett released on Friday the names of 100 organizations that 
applied for a license to sell marijuana.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom