public health council

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Massachusetts: First Marijuana Dispensaries Could Open By Year's End

Illustration: The Daily ChronicBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The first medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts could open by the end of this year, according to a timeline released on Friday by the state Department of Public Health.

Draft regulations on the medical use of marijuana in Massachusetts were filed by the DPH, which expects the final regulations to be approved by the Public Health Council and the Secretary of State by the end of May, report Marie Szaniszio and Erin Smith at the Boston Herald.

DPH is expected to start accepting applications from prospective dispensary operators by summer, and continue reviewing shops for license approval through the fall, said Interim Commissioner Dr. Lauren Smith.

"DPH solicited an unprecedented level of input in drafting these regulations to create a medical marijuana system that is right for Massachusetts," Smith said. "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." ("Safe" from one of the most non-toxic substances known to man, presumably.)

DPH requires that each nonprofit medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC), as it calls dispensaries, will operate its own growing facilities. No wholesale distribution of cannabis products will be allowed.

Massachusetts: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries May Open This Summer

Illustration: The Daily ChronicBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana patients in Massachusetts could have safe access through dispensaries by this summer. State public health officials plan to approve final regulations for the shops this spring.

Draft regulations will be issued March 29 by the Department of Public Health, reports Josh Stilts at the The Berkshire Eagle. If approved by the Public Health Council, which reviews all health policies in the state, the rules could go into effect May 24.

Massachusetts cities are not allowed to completely ban local medical marijuana dispensaries, according to a recent ruling by Attorney General Martha M. Coakley. They can, however, regulate and/or delay them through zoning and other measures.

The attorney general's ruling, prompted by a dispensary ban enacted last fall by the town of Wakefield, says that local bans would conflict with the intent of the state's medical marijuana law, approved by 63 percent of state voters in November. Wakefield's dispensary ban came just one week after medical marijuana was legalized.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had written Coakley last month, urging her to rule against Wakefield's bylaw which banned dispensaries.

Massachusetts: State Regulators To Unveil Medical Marijuana Rules March 29

Illustration: The Daily ChronicBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Regulations for the use of medical marijuana in Massachusetts will be unveiled on march 29, state public health regulators said on Wednesday morning.

The draft regulations will be filed with the Secretary of State's office that day and also posted on the health department's website, according to Interim Deputy Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett, reports Kay Lazar at the Boston Globe.

The regulations will be presented on April 10 to the Public Health Council, an appointed group of doctors, policy specialists, and educators, for a "comprehensive discussion that will serve as our primary opportunity to engage in substantive deliberation" about the policy, Bartlett said.

Massachusetts voters, with 63 percent in favor, overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure allowing patients with certain medical conditions to be authorized by the doctors to use cannabis medically. The new law required the health department to issue medical marijuana regulations by May 1.

Health officials have already admitted they're going to miss the target date. The timeline announced on Wednesday morning has the council approving final regulations on May 8, after a public hearing scheduled for April 19.

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