Massachusetts Medical Society: Letter from MMS in Support of Amendments to the Senate Marijuana Bill

Letter from MMS in Support of Amendments to the Senate Marijuana Bill

The MMS wishes to be recorded in support of the following amendments to Senate Bill S.2090, An Act Text of the Senate amendment to the House Bill to ensure the public health and safety of patient and consumer access to medical and adult use of marijuana in the Commonwealth (Senator Jehlen)

Amendment #9
Child and adolescent substance use prevention. (Flanagan)

This amendment would require the Department of Public Health (DPH) to expend 3-percent of all monies received in this fund for evidence based and evidence informed child and adolescent substance use prevention and early intervention services.

Amendment #16
Substance use prevention and treatment (Flanagan)

This amendment would require DPG to spend not less than $30,000,000 annually on substance abuse prevention and treatment programs.

Amendment # 47 
Packaging of marijuana and marijuana products (Lewis)

This amendment would require packaging to also be opaque, child-resistant and re-sealable, and prohibit knock-offs of existing products

Amendment #52
Labeling of marijuana and marijuana products (Lewis)

This amendment adds warnings about bringing marijuana across state lines to the packaging; and clarify that THC labeling must represent both absolute quantities as well as the percentage THC by volume.

Amendment #54
Advertising, marketing and branding (Lewis)

This amendment would strengthen marketing and advertising restrictions, including:

o   no more than an audience of 15% youth, with burden of proof on the industry; and

o   prohibition on advertisements that: are appealing to youth, including any use of cartoons or similar        images, and describe the products as safe or healthful

o   prohibit pop-up internet advertising

o   must verify that internet visitors are 21 years of age

o   prohibit give-aways, coupons, price discounting, and other similar promotional activities

o   advertising must include a DPH-developed health warning

o   the CCC may draft further rules with restrictions around celebrity endorsements and other restrictions

Amendment #58
Commission review of marijuana products (Lewis)

This amendment would require the Cannabis Control Commission is to review and approve new edible products before they are sold, including packaging, labeling, and marketing of the product, to ensure they are not especially appealing to minors

Amendment #60 
Use of revenue from marijuana taxation (Lewis)

This amendment would allocate at least the following proportion of tax revenues beyond program administration to the following:

 o   20% for DPH education and prevention grants;

o   10% for EOPSS to support public safety training;

o   10% for the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund;

o   20% for workforce development, restorative justice, jail diversion, or alternative education in disproportionately impacted communities

Amendment # 100 
Labeling (O'Connor Ives)

This amendment would prohibit marijuana products from being called “candy” and require products to be clearly marked with “hazardous to children” labels. 

Amendment #111
Increased Penalties for Violations Relative to Persons Under 21 (Keenan)

This amendment would impose tiered penalties for violations of regulations that are intended to prevent the targeting of persons under 21 years of age,”

While the Society continues to oppose the legalization of recreational marijuana, as being detrimental to public health, the physician membership formally endorsed policy underscoring the importance of remaining engaged in discussions with policymakers to advocate for policies that will protect the health of the public.

In crafting this new policy, the Medical Society identified priorities to help guide an evidence-based approach to amending the new law to best mitigate the deleterious impacts that the legalization of marijuana may have on Massachusetts. These priorities include: preventing youth access to marijuana, directing funding to conduct research on the health effects of recreational marijuana, mitigating the risks of marijuana-impaired drivers, promoting education about the health effects of recreational marijuana, and setting safety and quality standards for marijuana products.

These amendments are consistent with MMS policy and, if adopted, will help ensure that the recreational marijuana law is implemented in a way that limits the harmful effects on the health of the people of Massachusetts. 

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