Why No on 3
Medical marijuana failing in other states. This medical marijuana experiment is failing dramatically in other states resulting in what is being described as everything from “bad policy” to “a farce” to “marijuana-laced chaos” to “a sham to remember“.
Numerous studies in states that have approved marijuana for medical purposes have shown that the average “patient” is a 32-year-old white male with a history of drug and alcohol abuse and no history of life-threatening disease. Further studies have shown that very few people who use medical marijuana have cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma or multiple sclerosis. We are also now seeing links between medical marijuana and increased drug use and drug-related crime in other states.
Responsible medicine doesn’t look like this. Marijuana is addictive. It is the No. 1 reason children are admitted to substance abuse treatment in the United States each year. For adults, it is the No. 2 reason, behind alcohol.
No major medical organization in the nation, including the Massachusetts Medical Society, is calling for the use of marijuana as medicine.Why? There are many reasons, but chief among them is that smoking and eating marijuana is not medicine. Many peer-reviewed, medical studies conducted around the world support this determination by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And we now know from the decades of tobacco research that smoking anything is bad for our health.
The way to have medical marijuana is to do it right: through the scientific process, not the ballot box. Marijuana has active compounds that are worth isolating and studying for the responsible development of medications that have been subjected to rigorous testing, can be precisely dosed by certified medical professionals and have received FDA approval.
Massachusetts is smarter than this. Massachusetts deserves better than this. Vote No on Question 3.
What does the proposed Question 3 mean for Massachusetts?
“Question 3 in 3 minutes” is a video that will very quickly, very thoroughly explain the proposed law and it’s implications.
Up to five marijuana dispensaries would be allowed in each county in the first year — and more could be put in place after the first year. In other parts of the country, dispensaries are creating crime, community decay, nuisance and health and safety hazards. The problems these marijuana retail stores promote are not ones we want here in Massachusetts. For example, a 2012 study shows that among adolescents in substance abuse treatment in the Denver area, 74% had used someone else’s medical marijuana a median of 50 times. In June 2012, the Denver Police Department reported a 69% increase in crime at medical marijuana dispensaries over the first six months of the previous year. In fact, just recently, Los Angeles’ city council decided unanimously to shut down all of its dispensaries because of the crime and social problems they have caused.
People with no formal medical training could distribute marijuana. Anyone over 21 years old could own and operate a marijuana dispensary. Doctors, nurses and pharmacists are not calling for medical marijuana — and if this ballot question passes, they won’t be the ones to distribute it, either. Massachusetts citizens, especially those with chronic or terminal illness deserve to be served by certified health professionals. Anything less puts an individual’s health and safety at risk.
A marijuana cardholder could legally carry up to a 60-day supply. The proposed law would allow people to have a 2 month supply of marijuana on their person, transport in their vehicle and keep in their possession. However, that amount of marijuana is not defined in the law. If a one day supply is one joint, that’s 60 joints someone can have on their person. However, it is not unreasonable to assume that a day’s supply would be more like three joints – for morning, mid-day and evening doses. A 60-day supply then becomes 180 joints. That’s a lot of pot to be carrying! With amounts like that being individually distributed it will be very difficult to keep people from selling their “medical” marijuana to others.
People would be allowed to grow marijuana at home if they live an inconvenient distance from a dispensary. Note: Question 3 doesn’t define that distance — which stands to create enormous dilemmas for regulation and oversight. Also ask yourself: do you want to live next to someone who is growing marijuana? How do we protect our children from being exposed to marijuana growing in peoples homes?
Anyone could get marijuana, not just the terminally ill. Listed allowable illnesses for treatment with “medical” marijuana include cancer, HIV, glaucoma, and “other conditions“. It is this loose and general language in the bill that makes it allowable for virtually anyone to obtain marijuana for any reason.
Massachusetts will be at odds with federal law. Arizona’s attorney general has invalidated most of that state’s medical marijuana program, saying it is in violation of federal law. Similarly, a district court judge in Colorado has ruled that federal law trumps that state’s medical marijuana laws. Also relevant is the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 25 ruling striking down much of Arizona’s immigration law. In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy stated, “…the state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law.” If Question 3 is approved, Massachusetts taxpayers would be forced to foot costly bills for the legal showdown that undoubtedly would erupt between our state and the federal government. Massachusetts has far better and more important things to spend its money on than costly legal battles that would exhaust limited public resources that could be spent on much more effective healthcare for the very ill.
Schools and employers will have a tougher time addressing drug-related problems. As proposed, Question 3 would not require Massachusetts schools or employers to permit “medical” marijuana on campus. However, like in other states, schools will experience increased marijuana violations as youth access to pot increases with the overall drug supply in the state. And each school district will need to establish policies that deal with students whose parents allow them to use the drug. Similarly, employers will need to establish policies that protect their businesses from marijuana-using workers — who are likely to contest disciplinary action and/or termination on the grounds that they were within their rights to use their medicine.