Council gives approval of medical marijuana regulations

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has come up with regulations governing medical marijuana.(File/Reuters)
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has come up with regulations governing medical marijuana.(File/Reuters)

Six months after voters approved a ballot measure legalizing marijuana for medical use, the state’s Public Health Council voted unanimously Wednesday morning to approve of the proposed regulations governing the drug. 

While the vote moves the issue forward, but it will still be months before the state’s first registered marijuana dispensary opens its doors.

Now that the regulations are basically in place (they will go into effect May 24 after being sent to Secretary of State William Galvin’s office) the department will begin working on the competitive application process for businesses that want to open the non profit dispensaries. Businesses will have to pay a fee, meet certain conditions and will go through a merit-based approval process with “explicit criteria” that will rank the best applicants.

The application process wasn’t expected to begin until the summer and continue into the fall. It will include more public hearings on things like fees the dispensaries will have to pay before the process is complete.

“It doesn’t mean this will be up and operational in July,” said Cheryl Bartlett, the interim deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Health and a member of the medical marijuana regulation working group.

The regulations include a cap of 10 ounces of marijuana on a 60-day supply and a requirement that doctors that prescribe the drug for debilitating conditions such as cancer, HIV, AIDS and multiple sclerosis. However, the regulations also allow for patients suffering from other debilitating conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician.

Health officials said that during the course of forming the regulations they had hundreds of oral and written comments and held dozens of hearings. Some of the regulations were changed based on the public’s comments and concerns. One of those changes expanded the access to medical marijuana for youths suffering from debilitating conditions and who have two years to live. The draft regulation was written for youths with six months to live.

Council member Harold Cox questioned a provision in the regulations that require physicians to report patients symptoms and conditions to the state department. He said the council should always question why a patients information is needed to be handed over by their doctor.

“Looking at where the pitfalls have been in other states … we believe it’s important for us to do this in a responsible manner and that we have a very good understanding about how and why these [patient] certifications are being done,” said Lauren Smith, the interim DPH commissioner.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

And then there were six. It was a big night on stage as the Top 6 got to dance with each other, All-star partners and perform a solo routine.

Going Out

5 things to do in NYC this weekend…

FILM Lebowski Fest Aug. 22-23, 8 p.m. Various locations, Manhattan $20-$30, www.lebowskifest.com The Dude abides — for 48 hours to celebrate the 1998 Coen brothers classic.…

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…