State issues draft of medical marijuana regulations

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is releasing draft medical marijuana regulations on Friday. (File/Reuters)
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is expected to release draft medical marijuana regulations Friday. Credit: Reuters

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health filed proposed regulations (PDF) Friday to govern the distribution and use of medical marijuana in the Bay State.

Voters approved a ballot initiative in November allowing patients with certain medical conditions to obtain 60 days’ worth of marijuana to ease their symptoms.

The new regulations define key terms and issues, including how patients and doctors register with the state, the process for dispensaries – officially known as Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers – who is allowed to grow pot on their own and what constitutes a 60-day supply.

DPH is not defining which medical conditions would qualify someone to receive marijuana, leaving that question up to doctors and patients.

“DPH solicited an unprecedented level of input in drafting these regulations to create a medical marijuana system that is right for Massachusetts,” interim DPH Commissioner Dr. Lauren Smith said in a statement. “In this proposal, we have sought to achieve a balanced approach that will provide appropriate access for patients, while maintaining a secure system that keeps our communities safe.”

As many as 35 dispensaries could open statewide, although some communities have already passed local ordinances to keep the businesses out of their communities.

The public comment period has begun, and will last until April 20. A public hearing on the proposed regulations will be held April 19.

The state Public Health Council is expected to vote on the plans in early May; if approved, the rules would take effect May 24.

Massachusetts is one of 18 states that has legalized some form of medical marijuana, according to DPH.

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBos



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