BOSTON (WWLP) — Several medical marijuana users are lining up in opposition to proposed bills that would limit marijuana access. One of the laws would only allow patients who have one of eight listed medical conditions, like HIV or multiple sclerosis, to access the drug. Shandra Batra of Somerville suffers from fibromyalgia, a pain disorder that’s not on the list. She says the law would force her to obtain marijuana illegally.
"I would end up having to go to back to the black market and back to dealing with shady people and back alleys and maybe possibly getting hurt or raped or ripped off just because I’m trying to not be in pain,” said Batra.
Marijuana activist Steven Drury was visibly angry by the proposed bill, telling lawmakers that doctors should be able to prescribe marijuana for medicinal purposes using their own judgment.
“You want to diagnose me. I want to leave it to the doctor. I am very upset, very upset,” testified Drury at the Legislature’s Public Health Committee hearing Monday.
The legislative hearing for the proposed laws come days before the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issues final medical marijuana regulations. Massachusetts voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana – It went into effect in January. Senate Committee Chairman John Keenan (D-Quincy) filed a bill to delay the initiative until September.
“The law that was passed by way of referendum was full of loop holes, the Department of Public Health has done a great job addressing those loopholes and closing some of those loopholes, but they can only go so far with the legislation that was implemented,” said Sen. Keenan.
State lawmakers are proposing another law that keeps marijuana dispensaries 1000 feet away from certain buildings like schools, churches and no-smoking areas. Several landlord groups said they do not want growers on their properties and want to encourage smoke free environments.
The state’s Public Health Department will vote on final medical marijuana regulations on Wednesday – But state lawmakers could pass laws to supersede the regulations.
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