Medical marijuana could ease opioid crisis
THE CAMPAIGN TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA for recreational use in Massachusetts is dominating headlines and polls while drawing some strong opposition from important people. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Gov. Charlie Baker are all saying the ballot question should not be passed into law.
But regardless of where you stand on recreational marijuana, all this noise is obscuring the fact that the voters right now are being ignored on a crucial issue of public policy. Three years ago the people of Massachusetts voted by a two-thirds margin to give patients in chronic pain access to the proven benefits of medical marijuana. Frankly, that mandate hasn’t made much of a difference to thousands of patients with chronic pain, sleep disorders, AIDS and HIV, cancer, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis who continue to be denied the help the law says they should have. The situation is especially urgent in Boston, where no licensed facility is open for patients seeking medical marijuana – this in a city where 69 percent of voters pulled the lever in favor of legal medical marijuana.
The six facilities that have opened statewide over the last three years are not nearly enough to handle demand from patients in pain. That situation means that most of those who need medical marijuana remain right where they were before the voters spoke: Trying to find relief illegally, or going without.
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