by Ellen Brown, Sinsemilla Seminars (edited by Kathryn Rifkin)

How do you feel about the Massachusetts medical marijuana program?

What are your concerns? Here are some that I’ve heard.

1. Massachusetts doesn’t have reciprocity meaning our state doesn’t recognize out-of-state recommendations. (Our neighboring states Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine have reciprocity.)

2. Patients are forced to register with the Department of Public Health. Please keep in mind that when the voters voted yes on question 3 in 2012 there was no mandatory registration that came after. Not only are you being forced to register with the Department of Public Health, you have to pay a fee yearly.(violation of civil liberties?) (Maine and California don’t force their patients to register with the state.)

3. Our caregiver program was supposed to be a one caregiver to 10 patients it’s now 1 to 1 which is not a sustainable model. Also caregivers have to register with the state and pay a fee. ( Maine has one of the best caregiver programs in the country and Massachusetts has one of the worst.)

4. The minute you enter a dispensary and get medicine (exception seeds) you’re automatically disqualified from home cultivation. ( In many states you are allowed to cultivate your own medicine at home and you’re also allowed to access dispensaries to get your medicine. This allows for the patient to not have to stress out about their grow and if it doesn’t yield what they initially anticipated they will still have safe access to medicine.)

5. In the state of Massachusetts you are not allowed to cultivate Outdoors. ( Plenty of states allow patients to cultivate outdoors as long as it’s in a locked and secure area. Outdoor cultivation is going to help the patient financially because growing Outdoors is cost-effective.)

6. The fact that the Department of Public Health has made a mess of our medical marijuana program and that the patients are suffering. (It took three years for the first dispensary to open.)

7. The Department of Public Health is not protected under HIPAA if the federal government wanted the records for who is listed under the medical marijuana program the state would have to give over that information. Keep your medical information between you and your doctor, that is protected by HIPPA!! ( If we didn’t have a mandatory registration this wouldn’t be a problem.)

8. The lack of transparency with the Department of Public Health. I’ve emailed them my thoughts in a polite manner and also asked for a reply and months later.. no reply. I recommend that everyone take the time to email the Department of Public Health if you have questions or concerns in a polite professional manner.

9. In many states patients are allowed to sell their excess tested medicine to dispensaries, this allows the dispensaries to have a wider selection of Medicine and this allows for the patient to have a supplemental income. Not in Massachusetts.

10. Almost five years later and we only have 9 active dispensaries in the state of Massachusetts. ( there is a severe lack of safe access in a state as large as Massachusetts if you live on Cape Cod you would have to drive to Brookline which could take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours depending on what part of the Cape you are in and traffic. (What about the patients that are unable to leave their home, how did they get safe access? None of the dispensaries are delivering to Cape Cod.)