With Massachusetts recently legalizing medical marijuana, the state may see some unwanted side effects. Though the program offers people who have not been successful with pharmaceutical products a chance to overcome issues such as depression, chronic pain, nausea, chronic headaches, and many more ailments without unwanted side effects, we find these people are faced with some bigger problems. The problem is in how the state government is handling the preparation of this complicated task.
It costs $200 for patients in Massachusetts to see a doctor before they are even approved to get their “green card” and buy marijuana at a dispensary. They need to have a separate license to grow at their home. Many eager doctors and clinics were either refused licensed by the state, or refused to offer prescriptions for the plant as a remedy. This makes the patient have to grow their own at home, or deal through a “caretaker,” or someone who is licensed to grow a small amount for other patients. This is causing much tension in the community because many Massachusetts residents cannot afford the $200 it takes to make that first appointment, and the doctors are limited.
One side effect of this drug is increased crime in Massachusetts related to medical marijuana. A town in central Massachusetts has seen over 10 marijuana-related shootings where medical marijuana patients reside. Residents and police fear that the expansion of the medical marijuana system will only intensify these already present crimes. Local police urge those who are growing medical marijuana in their homes to protect themselves with security systems and possibly even a firearm. Many speculators believe that this fear would be satiated if marijuana was legal for recreational use. Many MA residents claim the legalization of marijuana could reduce the crime that taints the plant. Other states have not seen much change in crime, but only time will tell.
Police are also working closely with the new dispensary owners to help them prepare security plans. These security plans also include a delivery system for patients who cannot leave their homes to get their prescription. The parcels will be bagged up in front of a camera, then placed into a small safe. The armored van would be outfitted with it’s own safe, and cameras on the dashboard, and rear. The delivery driver would bring a small safe to the patient, and the deal is done. Dispensaries do not want to be carting around large amounts of the drug, so they will do few stops on one trip.
With the way state officials are organizing the program, however, it seems the time for worry is not now. State officials had approved 20 provisional licenses for dispensaries in the state of Massachusetts. Some questions have been raised by both applicants, and those living in the towns where these dispensaries were chosen to be built.
Claims of favoritism, unfair, and even illegal actions are being screamed from all sides. Dispensaries claim that the board of health had an unfair scoring system, giving those with more state connection a spot on the list. The Board of Health has found that some applicants lied on their application. They provided references and statements from town officials stating they were granted to build a dispensary in the town. Those references proved to be false. These Massachusetts dispensaries are feeling the side effects to medicinal marijuana.
The board of health has a lot of work to do to get everyone on the same page with this project. They claimed they would have dispensaries available to the public in the spring of 2014, though no word has come from the Department of Health with an actual date. Some patients may be in for more setbacks. Maybe the Massachusetts Board of Health are experiencing the real side effects of medical marijuana. Time will tell whether or not the program lifts off. If not the Health Board will have a mess to clean up.
By Joshua Shane