Mass Med Card

Palmer Mass Removes Medical Marijuana Moratorium


massachusetts medical marijuana 1 230x2301 230x230 photoFM – A Massachusetts town has this month removed a moratorium on medical marijuana and reworded its zoning laws in order to regulate the operations of a dispensary or a cultivation facility, in case one is approved.

The Palmer town council voted 5-0 in favor of a new article in the Code of Ordinances that is named ‘Medical Marijuana Facilities and Operations’. The new law will regulate the location of a medical marijuana facility.

The amendment will require any individual or company that wishes to operate a facility to seek a special permit as well as other land use review requirements from the planning board. The new law prohibits a medical marijuana facility from being sited within 500 feet of any dwelling, reports

The measure was however opposed by some residents in a public hearing in September. However, town policy makers responded, saying that it was illegal for Palmer town to continue extending its moratorium and that in absence of any zoning ordinances; any prospective medical marijuana business could be located just anywhere in the town.

Voters statewide approved a ballot in 2012 that legalizes the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities.

10/27/2014 |

Boston Marijuana Dispensaries Still A Question Mark


marijuana trade group 230x230 230x230 photoBizJournals – There could be two Boston marijuana dispensaries in the heart of the city if regulators approve either of two licenses sought by companies that want to run the facilities.

The state is set to issue licenses in early November. Suffolk County could get from zero to two Boston marijuana dispensaries.

One application, from Patriot Care, would but a dispensary in the middle of the Financial District at 21 Milk St. Patriot Care states in a license application that to hold the property it agreed to pay $10,000 in September, $12,000 in October and $15,000 in November.

If Patriot prevails, according to its application, the lease for 6,190 square feet of space — 3,407 is at street level and the rest is below — would cost $47 per square foot in the first year and slightly more for each of the following four years. The landlord would be MM Growth LLC.

The second application for a downtown Boston marijuana dispensaries license, from Mass Medicum Corp., would put a dispensary at 57 Stuart St. in an area of nightclubs and restaurants across the street from the Wilbur Theater.

Mass Medicum states in its application that it would pay starting rent of $18,000 per month to landlord Kai Feung LLC for 2,200 square feet of first-floor space and 500 square feet below.

A third application for Boston marijuana dispensaries is from JCS Holdings, which is seeking to open a dispensary at 226 Lincoln St. in Allston. The building lies between the Massachusetts Turnpike and a residential area.

All three applicants state in filings that they would grow marijuana elsewhere in Massachusetts.

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10/26/2014 |

Newton Marijuana Dispensary Gains Approval


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WL – The Board of Aldermen voted 21-2 Monday night in favor of approving a special permit for Garden Remedies, the Newton marijuana dispensary.

Opponents of the project have 20 days to appeal the decision. After that, Garden Remedies can apply for a building permit to renovate the building, which attorney Steve Buchbinder, who represents Garden Remedies, said it will do.

Alderman Lisle Baker voted against the special permit for several reasons, including discrepancies between information Garden Remedies submitted to the state and information it submitted to the city, traffic concerns, plus the fact that buying, selling and using marijuana remains a federal crime.

“In good conscience,” Baker said, “I cannot support the item.”

Alderman Jim Cote, who voted in favor of the special permit as a member on the Land Use Committee, voted against it as a member of the full board.

“It’s a new law, but it doesn’t mean we have to support the law,” Cote said. “As a parent of 10, I can’t support the introduction of a substance to a community that isn’t legal in the country.”

Buchbinder said he and his client were happy to have cleared that hurdle.

“We were really pleased,” Buchbinder said. “It’s the culmination of a long effort.”

Buchbinder said his client still needs a cultivation site to grow the marijuana, which will not be located in Newton. Once the seeds are planted, it takes four months for them to mature.

“We don’t expect to be open for business before the spring,” Buchbinder said.

Dr. Karen Munkacy, who owns Garden Remedies, said she was very pleased by the support from the Newton community. She said she is considering 8 properties outside of Newton for cultivation sites and is in lease negotiations with her top two choices.

Munkacy, a breast cancer survivor, said she had a particularly difficult time with chemotherapy and wants to provide relief to people who suffered like she did.

“We’re excited to get started helping patients with this medicine,” Munkacy said. “Hopefully people in the future won’t have to make the choice between suffering and breaking the law.”

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10/24/2014 |

Bay State Repeal – Marijuana Policy Project Working For Recreational Legalization


court weed 230x129 photoWL – A Reading-based advocacy grouped is seeking to get a question on the ballot for a 2016 vote that would legalize the recreational use of cannabis in Massachusetts.

Bill Downing, leader of Bay State Repeal, has been advocating for the positive opportunities brought by legalizing marijuana since 1989. He thinks that the time is fast approaching where the drug will be accepted and taxed like other mind-altering substances, namely alcohol and tobacco.

Backed financially by the

Marijuana Policy Project, which has pledged $1.8 million for a campaign to draw up a piece of legislation to give to the attorney general, Bay State Repeal hopes to raise enough money and awareness of its own to make a major impact in just two years.

“When I started in 1989 doing this, it did seem like a Star Trek future. But now in 2014, it seems like before my kids graduate college, this is going to happen,” Downing said.

Although the days of “Reefer Madness” and the perception of marijuana being as dangerous as cocaine or heroin are long gone, the battle for widespread recreational legalization is much farther from a unanimous decision. About 54 percent of Americans feel that marijuana should be legal, according to a Pew Research poll.

State Sen. Jason Lewis, D-Winchester, has stated that he would not support such a ballot question in 2016. He cites a growing amount of scientific evidence that shows marijuana use harms cognitive growth and brain function in young adults and teenagers.

“I worry that if we were to legalize it, it would send a message to young people that it’s not harmful and they don’t need to be concerned about using marijuana. I think that’s not the road that we want to go down in the state,” Lewis said.

Addressing Lewis’s point on marijuana use in the younger generation, Downing was adamant in his defense. He said activists do not intend for cannabis to fall into the hands of young people. He also noted that any laws would stringent regulations to prevent that.

“The other thing is that the prohibition has been completely ineffective in keeping marijuana out of the hands of children,” Downing added. “What, are we going to continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result? That’s Einstein’s definition of insanity. We’ve been trying that same tactic here in Massachusetts since 1913; it’s been 101 years.”

Downing believes that many of the reasons for the hesitancy to completely legalize the drug are not based in sound logic. He said cannabis is “safer than aspirin.”

Another argument used by anti-cannabis advocates is that the sudden legality of marijuana would result in a far higher number of people who use the drug, causing unwanted side effects in society. But Downing doesn’t agree with this either.

“Virtually anybody who wants to get marijuana now, even while it’s prohibited, can get it already,” he said. “So the idea that all of these people are now all of the sudden start smoking marijuana I think is very unrealistic.”

One of Downing’s main points of argument regards the black market, which is a general term that encompasses all production, distribution, and sales of illicit substances, such as marijuana.

“Not only are you taking away consumer dollars from the above ground, legitimate economy and throwing them into the underground market, the other bad half is who you’re giving it to on the other end,” he said. “That money that is disappearing from our legitimate economy is going into the hands of some of the most dangerous people in the world.”

This is also why Bay State Repeal cautions against the implementation of extremely high taxes if marijuana is eventually legalized.

“If you tax this stuff too heavily, then people are going to continue what they’re doing now; which is buying it on the black market and growing it themselves,” Downing said.

Recreational marijuana does not have the same support as medical marijuana, which is now legal in 23 states plus the District of Columbia. But Colorado and Washington legalization of recreational marijuana back in 2012 could provide a litmus test for changing that view. Lewis said he is inclined to wait for more data to emerge from those two states before making Massachusetts the third state to legalize.

Meanwhile, activists like Bill Downing are gearing up for a legislative bout with large implications for the state of Massachusetts. He thinks the giving citizens the opportunity to vote for such a law is a fight worth fighting, and one that is at the core of American values.

“It tells the people that they have the ability to rule their own destiny,” he said. “When the government doesn’t reflect the goals or the general values of the people, the time has surely come for the laws to fit the times.”

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10/18/2014 |

DPH Commissioner Resigns Amidst Marijuana Program Criticism


bartlett 230x172 photoHerald – Cheryl Bartlett, the state’s public health commissioner who has faced criticism amid its roll-out of long-awaited medical marijuana licenses, is stepping down in December to run a substance abuse program on the Cape, state officials announced today.

Bartlett will join Cape Cod Healthcare to lead the launch of its new substance abuse prevention and treatment program, Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz told staff in a memo.

“On a personal level, having Cheryl as our DPH Commissioner has put a real partner and advocate for the public’s health in the role and I am both saddened to see Cheryl go, but happy to have been able to work with her at the helm of the Department,” Polanowicz said.

Bartlett joins a growing list of high-level officials leaving as Gov. Deval Patrick prepares to end his second and final term in early January. Richard Davey, Patrick’s transportation secretary, will resign at the end of this month, the administration has announced.

Bartlett has been scrutinized as the state has dragged in awarding licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries nearly two years after voters first approved them at the ballot. She’s also had to remove herself from the process due to her ties to former Congressman William Delahunt, whose company was initially cleared for three dispensaries before state officials later disqualified it.

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10/15/2014 |
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