WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The state Department of Public Health is still looking for that perfect balance between access and safety when it comes to medical marijuana.
63 percent of Massachusetts voters said "Yes" to legalizing medical marijuana in November 2012, and the new law went into effect in January. But licensing and creating dispensaries is still an ongoing process.
Medical marijuana is now legal in Massachusetts, but there are still many questions about how that law will be implemented and where 35 dispensaries will be built.
Jeanne Galloway, West Springfield Director of Public Health, told 22News "My understanding is that most of the licensing and permitting, all of that needs to be done for both the individuals who want to use medical marijuana and those folks who want to sell it will be done at the state level."
The state Department of Public Health released a draft of medical marijuana regulations last month, and throughout the month of April, they have been getting some feedback from the public. So by the end of May they will have the final version of the regulations.
Here's what we know so far about what the DPH wants:
- Each licensed dispensary will cultivate its own marijuana.
- That means no wholesale distribution.
- Anyone under the age of 18 will need two doctors' notes and a guardian approval.
- And a qualified patient can have up to 10 ounces for a 60-day supply
But there are still some limitations.
Springfield Police Commissioner William Fitchet said, "You cannot operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and any other narcotic drugs, so the law, the medical marijuana law does not affect that."
A.J. Hodge of Springfield said, "I think they are doing the right thing. It's a very tough issue, so they need to take time and make sure they do it right. I know it's going at a slower pace than people want it to be, but they are doing the right thing by taking their time."
Tuesday night state lawmakers banned the sale of medical marijuana that's packaged to resemble candy. That's part of their effort to prevent any abuse of the law.