Election 2012: Should Medical Marijuana Be Legal?

  • Comments (28)
Bags of marijuana were seized in a 2010 Grafton arrest. Photo Credit: Grafton Police

Massachusetts could potentially join 17 other states that have legalized use of medical marijuana if voters approve Ballot Question 3 on Nov. 6, but while supporters hope the proposed law will help ease the suffering of those with debilitating conditions, the referendum has also raised public safety concerns from police.

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Will You Support The Legalization Of Medicinal Marijuana?

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Reader Results

Will You Support The Legalization Of Medicinal Marijuana?

  • Yes

    81%
  • No

    19%
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A yes vote on Question 3 would eliminate 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."

According to the Committee For Compassionate Medicine, the legalized use will help thousands suffering from cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, and other debilitating conditions, as scientific research has proven that marijuana can be useful for many clinical applications, including pain relief, nausea, and seizures.

While Leicester Police Chief Jim Hurley says he is not unsympathetic to the plight of individuals who have legitimate medical conditions, and wouldn't want to deprive them of necessary medical care, he was concerned that the law would allow individuals to carry physician-issued marijuana cards.

"Currently, we're being told the cards never expire," said Hurley. "I don't know of any prescription that is indefinite, and I think by doing that we're opening up the door to allow this marijuana to be diverted."

Additionally, because the card allows users to carry up to a 60-day supply, Hurley said in some cases "they might be carrying amounts that would normally be determined police to indicate distribution, but if you have a non-expiring marijuana card there's nothing you can do."

Moreover, the 2008 referendum decriminilizing less than an ounce of marijuana has had unexpected legal ramifications that police say have complicated law enforcement.

While Hurley said it was "sold to the voters as a revenue-raising fine for communities that were in financial need,"  the law has still not provided methodology to collect fines, resulting in Leicester having thousands of dollars in unpaid citations. 

"At one point we had 126 unpaid marijuana citations, which is $12,600," said Hurley.

A recent court case decision related to the 2008 referendum also prevents police from searching a motor vehicle strictly because of the aroma of marijuana.

"Could the same thing occur from this statute? Are we now going to get into a situation where before we can do something if we catch somebody with marijuana we have to find out if they have a prescription, and what if they leave it at home?" said Hurley. "To me, it makes the whole issue of marijuana possession more complex."

Finally, Hurley said the state needs to balance the question by providing adequate training to police officers to determine whether someone is operating a vehicle under the influence of a narcotic.

"Essentially, it gives you the green light to smoke marijuana and drive down the street," he said. 

How do you feel about legalizing medicinal marijuana? Vote in our poll and comment below.


  • 28
    Comments

Comments (28)

VictoriaSA:

Looking at the many positive effects that marijuana can bring to people, I personally would vote for marijuana to be legalized. However, that would also mean the authorities will have to come up with a new set of regulations that will control the distribution of marijuana and ensure that the legalization will not get people in trouble with the law instead. It should bring more benefits than bad.

northboundtrain:

I'll be voting yes, for a host of reasons, but one thing I can't get past: How can it be anything but morally wrong to deny someone medicine that could make them feel better?

scoogy:

Who is against legalizing marijuana? The alcohol industry, which stands to lose a lot of business. The pharmaceutical industry, for the same reason. The private prison industry, which needs to keep it's cells occupied to be profitable. Our police, who make a lot of money by confiscating property from smokers. And stupid people, who believe the lies these groups are promoting to keep it illegal.

Chris L.:

While I would not be opposed to legalization under some circumstances, I will be voting "No" on this question. There are too many obvious loopholes.

Not to mention, tobacco cigarettes have terrible health concerns, but somehow we can 'look the other way' for marijuana smoking?

Joints are not medicine. So, this is not really about legalizing medicinal marijuana. Come back next year with a referendum either on legalizing true medical pot pills or legalizing regular marijuana (not as a medicine), and leave out the dangerous loopholes.

chris.ohara.58:

Ok the vast majority of medical cannabis users use a vaporizer or cook it into brownies or cup cakes.....
So i took away your argument am sure this hasnt changed your stance one inch
Just admit your against anyone using it because you believe the propaganda

You dont know a thing about cannabis

Chris L.:

I'm not against people using it. I think they should call it what it is and have a bill to legalize it (with language in the bill to prevent/punish abuse). Why are we pretending that this is going to be just "medical" marijuana?

Heck, I think people should be able to grow it in their back yard if they want. I just want to limit the risks of those individuals who get debilatingly addicted or drive under the influence. As long as legalization doesn't hurt those who choose not to use it...that protection needs to be there.

DanB:

I spoke to my doctor of over twenty years about both medical related ballot questions to get his opinion. On this one, he was adamantly against it passing. There are alternatives in pill form that would have the same effect for medical use, so ultimately this ballot question would be legalizing the smoking form. Bottom line is this will put more drugs on the street - I cannot in good conscious support that.

purdythomas:

Before daring to call marijuana medicine, we should take into account the following. The chemical analysis of raw marijuana shows it to contain 33 known carcinogens. It contains far greater quantities of cancer-causing ingredients than tobacco smoke. All major medical associations oppose the use of marijuana to treat any medical condition. It is not approved by the FDA. On the other hand, the FDA has approved some pharmaceuticals which have the same active ingredient as marijuana (THC), minus all those carcinogens. Marinol has been available in local pharmacies across the nation since 1999. For any patient who really can't swallow a small Marinol capsule, there is an oral spray Sativex in its final stages of clinical trial. Any seriously ill patient can enroll in these clinical trials and be taking Sativex immediately. Truthfully, Sativex is easier for a patient to take than smoking a joint or eating an edible preparation containing raw marijuana. Let's trust the best advice of the medical community and vote NO on Question 3.

Male_DV_Victim:

Uhh, you might want to check out the side effects of Marinol and Sativex,,,

Marijuana in it's base form does not have those effects AND those effects would need Marijuana to help remedy those effects.

ALl you focus on is "smoke",,, Uh, you can vaporize and eat it.

____________________________________________
"Let's trust the best advice of the medical community "
_____________________________________________

Yeah,, Tell that to those with meningitis this week,, The government knows best.

JSnr:

If you are leaning yes, please get informed:
http://mavotenoonquestion3.com/leaning-yes-please-consider-this-and-vote-no-on-question-3/

Male_DV_Victim:

Leaning “yes”? Please consider this…the devil is in the absence of details

http://mavotenoonquestion3.com/leaning-yes-please-consider-this-and-vote-no-on-question-3

_____________________________________________________

As I see it once you mention the "Devil",, all science trumps you.

Separate Church and State!!

Thanks for playing, please, try again.

Oh,, did I mention Pat Robertson said god said it was OK??

JSnr:

Prelude to a pot legalization measure. This law is rife with loopholes which encourages diversion to non-sick user and kids. Don't be fooled. Check out:
www.MaVoteNoOnQuestion3.com

Male_DV_Victim:

Ok,, I can listen to refer madness or I can listen to successful, educated people who have made a difference world wide.

http://marijuanamajority.com

You will notice Pat Robertson among the THOUSANDS.

Oh, and as far as Law Enforcement views,,

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is an international organization of criminal justice professionals who bear personal witness to the wasteful futility and harms of our current drug policies. Our experience on the front lines of the “war on drugs” has led us to call for a repeal of prohibition and its replacement with a tight system of legalized regulation, which will effectively cripple the violent cartels and street dealers who control the current illegal market.

http://www.leap.cc

Duncan20903:

So, would you care to explain the organized opposition to Amendment 64 in Colorado and I-502 in Washington from those States respective medicinal cannabis patient protection advocates?

grommit:

Geez...another problem for me to solve.
If this is for "medical" marijuana, then:
(1) have the DEA ensure we are getting clean, pure, non-toxic versions of marijuana;
(2) train doctors in the symptoms that can be relieved with marijuana and in the correct dosage for different symptoms;
(3) license drug companies to cultivate, harvest, and control marijuana;
(4) dispanse via current drug stores, not "dispensaries" that hawk all sorts of non-medical junk. Let's please ensure that ONLY patients who need this can get it. For REAL symptoms.
If you want marijuana legalized for non-medical purposes, then go for it, but do not try this ruse.
BTW...I checked with several real doctors about this issue. The above represents their thoughts, because I am not a doctor (although I really enjoy playing one!)
There..another problem solved. Back to my nap.

Male_DV_Victim:

"(3) license drug companies to cultivate, harvest, and control marijuana."

They are the ones who do not want it legalized,, not enough profit.

People say cannabis cures cancer.

That would be a tragedy for bi Pharm,,, You make more money treating a disease than curing it.

Chris L.:

I think we've got bigger things to worry about than weed, and I would agree that alcohol is probably worse. I would not be opposed to people having medicinal marijuana (although suddenly the second hand smoke of a marijuana cigarette is somehow not a problem like that of regular cigarettes??).

I do have some concerns about the unintended consequences that were mentioned as being potentially created by this legislation, though (non-expiring card, distribution, enforcement, etc.). Let's call it what it is instead of sneaking it through as "medical" use. People in this state seem to want marijuana legalized...period.

It will probably result in more people driving under the influence though--there should be much harsher and consistent penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs....no second chances!

Jim Gonyea:

My doctor can prescribe Oxycontin, but not marijuana. My doctor can prescribe Codine, but not marijuana. I can get drunk on alcohol without a prescription, but my doctor can't prescribe marijuana. I can go into the hospital and be given morphine, but they can't give me marijuana.

Legalize it. Regulate it. Tax it. Treat it like alcohol.

Jethro:

I am definitely voting YES on this. Doctors can prescribe much stronger drugs, so why not marijuana? The studies suggesting that pot is a "gateway" drug focus only on hardcore junkies, many of whom did indeed start with marijuana. But these same studies ignore the tens of million Willie Nelson types, who have smoked weed daily for decades and never graduated to anything else. Alcohol is more of a gateway drug than pot.

Male_DV_Victim:

Alcohol is more of a gateway drug than pot."

All of them started with alcohol, then cigarettes THEN Marijuana,, you are so right!

Funny how the "Save the children" people fail to mention this.

We learn by what we are taught,, drink responsibly and set a proper example, why do people think6666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\tfgvbtfgvbtfgvbtfgvbtfgvbtfgvbtfgvbfgvfgvfgvfgvfgvfgv

mike.parent.12:

Marijuana is the 21st Century "Boogey Man". It suffers from purely unfounded.
accusations and fears with a corrupt political system having an interest.
in keeping it illegal and the Prohibitionists who profit from.
this shameless, morally bankrupt policy. How can they refute the.
following?

Lie #1 Gateway Drug.
Marijuana is NOT a Gateway Drug. Here's a 12 Yr Univ Study that says so;.
Andrew Hryckowian - University of Pittsburgh.
www.pitt.edu/~ugr/Hrych2.pdf
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Raven-... Marijuana is not a.
“gateway” drug.

Lie #2 Marijuana is addictive.
Marijuana is no more addictive or and less harmful than Caffeine;.
Dr Henningfield is a former NIDA Staffer;.
Addictiveness of Marijuana - ProCon.org.
www.procon.org/view.background...
urce.php? resourceID=1492
In April 1997, after reviewing the literature, Dr. Henningfield changed
his ratings of marijuana and caffeine's tolerance and dependence to 5's.
and 6's.

Lie #'s 3 & 4, Marijuana has not Medicinal Use and is Dangerous.

AND, In 1988, a DEA Administrative judge wrote, in a report.
Commissioned by the DEA; "16. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of.
the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any
measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a.
supervised routine of medical care."
http://www.ccguide.org/young88...”
For good measure, Med Marijuana doesn't increase teen use.
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57456999-10391704/medical-marijua...
wont-boost-teen-pot-use-study-finds/

Male_DV_Victim:

And then on the moral side:

Pat Robertson Says Marijuana Use Should be Legal!
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/us/pat-robertson-backs-legalizing-marijuana.html?_r=0

How can you argue with god?

Liberal:

All marijuana should be totally legal, so medical marijuana is a step in the right direction. The cops will just have to find something else to do. May I suggest fighting crime.

Male_DV_Victim:

Yeah,, but marijuana smokers are so much easier to process,, not like drunks who get all violent,, Heck, they might get hurt!

siebeljon:

without saying whether I'm for or against the use of marijuana for medical purposes, the issue I have is with the actual wording of the law, which includes this: "...provided that at least one treatment center shall be located in each county..."

Why should it be law that every county in Massachusetts MUST have at least one treatment center? There are 14 counties in the commonwealth, which means within a year we must have a minimum of 14 centers? I think that's where the law, as written, is flawed.

Male_DV_Victim:

Boston ALONE has a quota of 650 full liquor licenses and 320 wine and malt licenses. Currently, according to the Alcoholic Beverages Controls Commission, there is one available liquor license and six wine and malt licenses.

Why do we need so many places that sell alcohol when we know how dangerous it is.

Like said,, It's all about who gets the money, law enforcement stands to lose a lot of grant money!

Follow http://www.leap.cc

Male_DV_Victim:

"Additionally, because the card allows users to carry up to a 60-day supply, Hurley said in some cases "they might be carrying amounts that would normally be determined police to indicate distribution, but if you have a non-expiring marijuana card there's nothing you can do."

When a person turns 21 in this state they get a card which will allow them to purchase ANY amount of a legal drug, alcohol, which we know is a killer drug.

Why don't we put a limit as to how much someone can buy there as well.

When on guy shows up and buy's a keg,, what kind of supply is that,, what if he shares it with others, especially kids?

By the way,, more people die from drinking regular water than have ever died from marijuana,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_intoxication

Male_DV_Victim:

Myself,, I will listen to some law enforcement professionals that are not afraid of losing grant money or the tools to generate "sin taxes / tickets" designed to generate income for the town.

Like this group:
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
http://www.leap.cc

You know, like putting a 30 mph sign in an area where 45 is safe.

Just another way to raise money~!

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