Letter to Gov. Patrick Regarding Medical Marijuana Draft Regulations

The Honorable Deval Patrick
Massachusetts State House
Office of the Governor
Room 280
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Governor Patrick,

On behalf of the physicians of Massachusetts, I want to record our support for the efforts of Commissioner Smith and the staff of the Department of Public Health in drafting proposed regulations on medical marijuana use in Massachusetts. In rafting regulations, the Department has been limited by the specific language of the referendum question. The Massachusetts Medical Society is very concerned that the implementation of this new law be done in a manner that is consistent with good medical practice. The Department has done a comprehensive job in raising the major issues which need to be addressed if Massachusetts is to implement the mandate of the voters in a helpful and responsible manner.

The MMS is pleased that several issues in particular have been addressed. They include:

  • Certification of patients by only physicians with a Mass. license and a Mass. practice setting.
  • Inclusion of marijuana certification in the prescription monitoring program.
  • The definition of bona-fide physician-patient relationship, which was developed with input from the Board of Registration in Medicine, reflects the unique nature of legitimate discussions and decision making in this new area.
  • The Department has responsibly addressed the area of marijuana use by adolescents in a manner that reflects established research on potential harm to developing children.

The regulations are complex and will receive thorough vetting on April 19th. Listening sessions held by the Department showed a commitment in time and energy to understand the views of patients and members of the public who are often outside the mainstream. The regulations will have supporters and detractors and the rhetoric will be strident to say the least. The DPH is to be commended for its efforts to date on a tough subject.

Sincerely,
Richard V. Aghababian, MD, FACEP
President, Massachusetts Medical Society

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