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Massachusetts State Officials Hold Hearing on Medical Marijuana

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The Joint Committee on Public Health heard from advocates and opponents for the legalizing marijuana for medical use. S 1161 and H 625, the two bills before the Committee have been sent to further study.

H 3885, the medical marijuana ballot initiative, if passed by the legislature, would go to voters in November.

The Committee for Compassionate Medicine testified in favor of legalizing pot for individuals suffering from debilitating disease.

Whitney Taylor, Field Director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Massachusetts and Committee for Compassionate Medicine partner explains…

At the hearing, CCM medical expert Dr. Karen Munkacy, an anesthesiologist from the New England Coalition for Cancer Survivorship testified that medical marijuana use by patients works in the brain to, “decrease pain, decrease muscle spasms, and decrease nausea and vomiting.”

The Massachusetts Medical Society claimed that there is not sufficient evidence to prove that marijuana use is an effective medicinal treatment and should be studied further.

The Massachusetts Family Institute testified against the ballot initiative, saying that measure is too broad and could lead to abuse. Executive Vice President Andrew Beckwith…

Heidi Heilman of the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance, said that the legalization of marijuana in the state goes against federal laws and could also lead to problems of illegal access to those underage.

Heilman did note that her organization would support FDA regulated cannaboid drugs.

Dr. Kevin Sabet, spokesman for MPA and a former Senior Advisor to the Obama Administration’s Office of National Drug Control Policy said that state’s legalizing medicinal marijuana is risky.

In 2008, Massachusetts voters in a ballot question voted to decriminalize marijuana possession. In a March poll released by Public Polling Policy, 53% of Massachusetts residents polled support the legalization of medical marijuana, and 35% opposed the idea.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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