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MA Medical Society, 10 Other Physician Groups Oppose Recreational Marijuana

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

 

The Massachusetts Medical Society as well as ten statewide physician specialty groups have announced their opposition to Question 4, the initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. 

“The ballot question 4 on recreational marijuana lacks any consideration for the public health of the citizens of the Commonwealth, especially for our young people. Physicians believe that its approval would simply be a big step backward for public health and safety in our state,” said James S. Gessner, M.D., president of the Massachusetts Medical Society. 

Gessner cited factors including risks of addiction, ranging from nine percent to as high as 50 percent, depending on when use begins, cognitive impairment from marijuana, damaging effect on adolescent brain development, risk of use during pregnancy, and threats to highway occupational safety. 

Problems With Ballot Question 

Along with the public health and safety issues, Gessner says that the question itself fails in two major areas. 

Gessner says that the question doesn't have any public oversight or authority in the development of the regulations which would guide implementation of the law, and that it has no provisions for any revenue from the sale of the drug to be earmarked for health care, education, prevention or treatment programs. 

“This ballot question was written by and for the marijuana industry, without any regard for the public health of Massachusetts residents," said Dr. Gessner. 

Colorado 

According to Gessner, research revealed that Colorado, since approving the recreational use of Marijuana in 2012, has seen an increase in Marijuana use by youth 12-17, a 29 percent rise in marijuana related emergency room visits and hospitalizations, and a 48 percent jump in marijuana related traffic deaths. 

“One need only to look at the experience of Colorado, to see the serious effects that recreational marijuana can bring," said Gessner. 

Others Who Oppose 

  • Joining the Medical Society in its opposition to the question are: 
  • Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics 
  • Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Physicians
  • Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians
  • Massachusetts Psychiatric Society
  • Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians
  • Massachusetts Society of Anesthesiologists
  • Massachusetts American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 
  • Massachusetts Gastroenterology Association
  • Massachusetts Society of Neurosurgeons
  • Massachusetts Association of Practicing Urologists
 

Related Slideshow: 10 Things You Need to Know About Marijuana Dispensaries in MA

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#10

The first marijuana dispensary didn't open in Massachusetts until 3 years after voters approved the use of the therapeutic drug.

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#9

June 29, 2015 was the first day that companies could apply to open dispensaries and over 50 applications were submitted.

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#8

The state has awarded 15 out of the allotted 35 applicants with the privilege of growing and selling medical marijuana.

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#7

So far, only six have been given permission to open their doors.

- In Good Health in Brockton they plan to open later in the summer 

- Alternative Therapies Group which was the first to open on June 24

- Compassionate Care in Ayer plan to open later in the summer

- New England Treatment Access (2) which will have its cultivation site in Franklin and dispensaries planned for Brookline and Northampton they plan to open in the fall

- Patriot Care in Lowell

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#6

In Good Health’s president says that their dispensary will open for business in weeks following on the heels of ATG..

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#5

Governor Baker wanted to revamp the medical marijuana licensing process and treat it like any other health care facility.

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#4

Previously, the state set deadlines for applications, then analyzed the entiregroup simultaneously. Now, the process will allow dispensaries to apply for licenses on a rolling basis, and each one will be scored individually.

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#3

The law permits only 35 dispensaries in the state for the first year.

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#2

As of January, 2016, there are 19,279 registered and certified patients.

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#1

Currently, there are no registered marijuana dispensaries in Worcester. 

 
 

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