Medical marijuana now legal, but rules and enforcement unclear

Medical marijuana now legal, but rules and enforcement unclear

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The new law allows non-profit dispensaries, or in some cases individuals, to cultivate marijuana for medical use. — Photo courtesy of DEA

Some Island police departments are formulating policies and trying to clarify enforcement requirements of the new state law that allows use of marijuana to treat debilitating medical conditions.

Massachusetts voters approved the use of medical marijuana in a statewide ballot referendum question in November. The law took effect January 1, but it could be months before the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) fashions regulations and licensing procedures.

Until then, the law requires only a note from a doctor for use of medical marijuana.

Police are concerned that recreational marijuana users will take advantage of the new law to abuse the drug, and they are also wary that the medical marijuana law might make the drug more acceptable, which could lead to abuse. They are also concerned that enforcement of the new law leaves them with few practical tools to prevent abuse.

“If they show us something [a note] that looks authentic, we would probably have to send them on their way,” Oak Bluffs police Lieutenant Tim Williamson said. “If it looks bogus, I imagine we would cite them with a civil fine. If they show up at a court hearing and show a magistrate a legitimate prescription, the case would probably be thrown out.”

Under a separate law decriminalizing marijuana that took effect in 2009, the maximum penalty for possession of less than an ounce of the drug for personal use is a $100 civil fine, similar to a speeding ticket.

Edgartown police Chief Tony Bettencourt is concerned that the new law took effect long before state or local authorities could evaluate its likely effects, or decide the best way to enforce it. “We are in the process of getting a policy together,” he said. “These things happen quickly, and we’ve had to scramble.”

Cause and effect

While local police departments and health advocates accept that a clear majority of Massachusetts voters favor the use of medical marijuana, they have many questions about their ability to enforce it, or manage the impact of medical marijuana dispensaries.

Theresa Manning, executive director of the Dukes County Health Council Youth Task Force (YTF) said her organization opposed passage of the law, but they knew supporters were likely to prevail.

Now that the law has taken effect, the YTF will focus on working with local towns which may consider zoning or health bylaws to regulate dispensaries.

Last week, the group asked each town’s selectmen and the Dukes County Commission to send a letter to Governor Deval Patrick urging him to delay implementation for at least six months, to give towns time to explore new bylaws.

“Our concern now, and always has been, is about access for kids,” Ms. Manning said. “We certainly are concerned about what medical marijuana has done in other communities.”

Critics of the medical marijuana laws in California and other states say the use of marijuana for medical treatment has become little more than a pretense, with hundreds of dispensaries operating like supermarkets with sales, student discounts, and products ranging from marijuana candy to marijuana ice cream.

Ms. Manning said that surveys of Martha’s Vineyard school students reveal that while the underage use of alcohol is decreasing, marijuana use is on the rise.

“Fewer and fewer kids feel like it’s bad for you,” she said. “When you put it under the guise of medicine, that it’s good for you, that’s of great concern.”

“Kids don’t wake up one day and decide to snort a line of cocaine, or stick a needle in their arm,” Lt. Williamson said. “I’m not saying everybody that uses marijuana graduates to harder drugs. But I think if you talk to anybody that has a drug addiction, they will tell you at some point, marijuana was in there somewhere.”

What it does

Question Three on the November state ballot won approval from 63 percent of Massachusetts voters.

The new law eliminates civil and criminal penalties for the medical use of marijuana by qualifying patients. The ballot question summary, written by the state attorney general, explained a qualified patient as someone diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition. It lists examples of such conditions as cancer, aids, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, or multiple sclerosis.

The law requires a written certification from a doctor who has a real physician-patient relationship, and it allows patients to possess up to a 60-day supply of marijuana.

It provides for nonprofit treatment centers to grow, process, and sell marijuana to patients or their caregivers. Under the new law, if a patient has a medical, financial, or transportation hardship that limits access to treatment centers, he or she can get a license to grow a 60-day supply of marijuana in a closed, locked facility.

Up to 35 treatment centers could be established throughout the state. Each county must have one treatment center, but can have no more than five.

What it does not do

The state medical marijuana law does not provide immunity under federal law. Nor does it obstruct enforcement of federal law.

It is still a federal crime to possess marijuana. There is no exception for medical use, and federal authorities do not recognize any legitimate medical treatment. People who use medical marijuana in Massachusetts and other states that have legalized the drug or allowed medical use are breaking federal law.

The federal government has sent mixed signals on enforcement of the federal law. In 2009, the U.S. Attorney General issued a memorandum to U.S. Attorneys in states where medical marijuana is legal, advising them they could exercise prosecutorial discretion to refrain from enforcing the federal law if medical marijuana is being used on advice from a doctor and users are complying with all applicable state law.

In 2011, federal law enforcement officers began a systematic, aggressive crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in California. At a congressional hearing, Attorney General Eric Holder said the federal government took action because large dispensaries were evading state laws and going beyond what the state law authorized.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) issued a memorandum in 2011 that made it clear that it is illegal for a medical marijuana user to purchase, possess, or use firearms or ammunition. The memo also warns that it is illegal to sell firearms or ammunition if the seller has a reasonable cause to believe the buyer uses medical marijuana.

The state law also does not prevent employers from firing workers for using medical marijuana, on or off the job, even if they comply with state law.

It does not allow operation of a vehicle, boat, or aircraft under the influence of medical marijuana, and it does not require any local government to allow use of the drug in public.

It does not require health insurers to reimburse patients for the cost of medical marijuana.

Comments

  1. imagine being sick and in pain and some mean spirited person says you gotta wait 6 months or 9 months because WE don’t have our act together. compassion thrown right out the effing window! to save the kids ! I got a kid and i say give the people the medicine! now !

    1. might as well make all drugs legal,why should just the potheads get what they want,the hardcores should have equal rights too.
      this is going to get so out of hand,just wait and see

      1. the hardcores like you , lol who want people to suffer without medicine ? hopefully they are few in number .you got no mercy or compassin no viewpoint and nothing to back you up.how are potheads hurting you? pretty sure they dont attack medicine or non potheads.you know,live and let live

        1. I’m just a hardcore anti (never used any kind of drugs)but my main concern being a truck driver is that we probably have 40% of the drivers here are impaired one way or another,now you want to increase that to 60-70%,smart move,as a CDL driver,if I have 1 or 2 beers I lose my right to drive and make a living but the potheads are allowed to drive stoned and it’s ok,in your mind,just what we need,more brain dead people on the roads.
          are they gonna have road blocks for druggies like they do for drunk drivers?or is driving stoned or high ok,what’s good for one is good for all !

          1. wait a minute !!! i don’t wanna see the increase use of drugs when it comes to driving safety . i never said that .i know truckers who have the odd doobie but don’t drink on the job .dont assume that there wiil be more people driving stoned .theres no proof. calling people braindead and potheads and druggies is insulting and you lose credibility. plus it means you’re are weak and have no argument .you sound jealous cuz you lose your licence but regular folk do’nt! be able to prove what you say

          2. I know lots of people that have cdls that drink heavily and get stoned on a regular basis.. But they don’t do it while driving.. No problem..

          3. Wow. Just… WOW. Drunk and stoned on a regular basis… but never while driving? Are you kidding? The problem with Martha’s Vineyard is that there is little to stop this decay, but plenty of 12-step programs once people realize they’ve stepped off the cliff and likely destroyed a few lives in the interim. Sad. What a terrible atmosphere to raise kids who see what’s going on and learn from it.

          4. maybe you are right or maybe not but as far as weed goes once it’s common and people are used to it the fad will go away. probably will replace drinkin too. somewhat! in Holland teen use is reasonably low compared to here. its gonna take a while to catch up and theres no way of stopping it . teach your children well

          5. Jackie…I have to look at this bill at face value. It was presented as offering up a legal avenue for those that can benefit from marijuana for their symptoms. The people of MA overwhelming approvad the bill, and I’m sure many had motives above and beyond the actual intent of the bill.

            I didn’t want to get personal on the issue, but here it is: My mother died of MS in 1974 at the age of 44. I was eleven years old. She was prescribed codine for her symptoms, but only pot worked. I was well aware that we were doing “illegal things” as I filled the bong (the moisture from the water pipe wasn’t harsh on her lungs) and frankly, I was terrified. Even at a tender age, I knew my mother was breaking the law and I was helping her to do so. But I saw how cannabis improved her double vision and stimulated her appetite…truly miraculous.

            Meanwhile, my older sister got into mom’s unused codine stash, overdosed, and had her stomach pumped.

            The End.

          6. Thank you…sincerely. Honestly, it was hell, Jackie. In the 1970’s, billboards littered my NJ landscape urging people to call the authorities on those known or suspected of engaging in marijuana activity. It felt like a deep dark family secret that my mother indulged in such an unsavory practice for symptom relief.

            Meanwhile, my sister has yet to conquer her pill addiction.

          7. very nice of you to offer your sympathies when you know the story. So why, when you are totally UN-informed as to a specific case do you advocate denying people the FREEDOM to have a medication that relieves their pain , based on some pre conceived notion you have about this drug. Perhaps you actually are a real md (nobody knows on the internet). If you are,you should know that drugs like Valium are legal, and cause tremendous amounts of damage to individuals and society. All drugs have a place, many are abused.. But to deny a drug to someone that can benefit from it based on some well intentioned, but not so well informed opinion to me borders on violating the Hippocratic oath that all real Md’s take.

          8. I am not against medical marijuana, nor would i want to see it denied in legitimate medical cases. I am denying supporting and voting for the law as written because it is full of holes and rife for abuse. I am against substance abuse. Most of these comments have nothing to do with physical suffering.

            I am completely and vehemently against teaching children that a little tote isn’t a bad way to have a little fun. Parents who have that attitude condone the use.

            I think the pro-pot posts are mostly written by those who have taken a hypocrite oath. “Hey, it’s for those who are suffering” My foot.

          9. I also wonder when the outrage factor kicks in. “KIds are going to try it”? How many times does a 14 year old have to try it for his parents to become alarmed? How many 14 year old island kids have to be smoking pot at lunch time before the adults think it’s too many kids and besides, it’s not my kid? How young does a child have to be before a parent stops saying, “He was going to experiment anyway”? 13? How about 9?

          10. Jackie…not every kid that experiments is destined to become a stoner.

            Teenagers face temptation every day. Parents need to talk to their kids about sex and drugs, and school curriculum needs to reinforce these discussions. Most teenagers are going to have a rebellious moment in their lives…it is to be expected. Not embraced, mind you, but expected. This is the dreaded moment when every parent simply has to cross their fingers, hold their breath, and hope that their sound parenting will prevail.

            Sadly, I fear there may be a lack of sound parenting. And therein lies the rub.

            Just my opinion.

          11. I agree with you about teens, except that you minimize how attitudes are modeled, not just behaviors. Talking is good, but not if it’s a matter of “Do as I say, not as I do”. Kids sniff out hypocrite parents quicker than you can imagine. Parents and/or their friends who drink and smoke pot as much as they do here have an impossible time letting their kids know they shouldn’t drink or get stoned. You may not be aware of how many young teens are substance abusers on the island. Any teen using substances to get high is too many, and I will not minimize the behavior because all that does is condone the behavior to them, Kids are not dumb. I especially get upset with parents who provide a “safe environment” for their kids to drink and smoke. Really, really dumb, dangerous and damaging.

          12. I’m not minimizing the problem, Jackie. Parents that party send the wrong message to their offspring. Such hypocracy is destined to come back and bite hard as the child enters adolescence.

            It is easy to identify the problem…not so easy to eradicate it. I’m not reading any productive comments here that offer possible strategies to confront the issue.

            I COMPLETELY understand why you did not support Question 3, and it had NOTHING to do with withholding relief to those in need. You did not support the bill because you thought about the kids. I see no fault in that.

            Here is my own lame attempt at a strategy: Every parent, while registering their child in kindergarten, should receive an informative pamphlet on the negative impact that recreational drug exposure poses to their child, and how substance abuse runs deep and rampant in the youth community. Then there should be a test to make sure the parent actually read the damn pamphlet. I don’t think this approach steps on the toes of parental rights, and it might just open some eyes.

          13. Kids that are taught responsible substance use are a lot less prone to dangerous behavior when the parental shackles come off. At least, in my experience. A good example of this is dads letting their sons try their beer at thanksgiving, or a glass of wine with meals when they are a teenager. Kids can use role models for stuff like this, just like everything else. I don’t see why the principle wouldn’t extend to marijuana, too.

          14. It’s quite a leap going from medical pot to advocating substance use by kids, who, BTW, do not have fully developed brains. Only on Martha’s Vineyard.

          15. Both regarding this law and regarding my post above, you are just seeing what you want to see. Good luck living in your bubble.

          16. Come on, what’t the point of anyone, at any age, using THC? You want to teach kids to get stoned responsibly? Very nice. Why on earth would you think it’s okay for kids to be stoned? “We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are”.

          17. I’m glad you noted “at least in my experience.”

            I certainly don’t want to see Santa slipping a roach clip into the stockings of children to demonstrate “responsible substance use.” I’m at a loss at your suggestion that parents introduce their teenagers to their first beer, glass of wine, and/or hit of weed. Do you believe this is some sort of preventive measure against future substance abuse?

          18. I know that responsible alcohol use is something that can be taught by good parents. Since THC is in many ways less harmful, I see no reason why the same couldn’t be true of that.

          19. That’s some nice puritanical hyperbole, jackie. Straight out of the sixties.

          20. Not hyperbole. Denying the serious pot culture among teens who start very young is part of the problem here.

          21. PS: Do all those substance abusing people you know who get drunk and stoned on a regular basis do it for medicinal purposes?

          22. well, there is that thing about self medicating..;)

            I am a person that thinks pot should be legal, regulated and taxed, like alcohol. To me, making it a misdemeanor and making it legal for medical use are just steps along the way. We have things in our society that are not good for us. IE: alcohol, drugs, tobacco, fast food, guns, muscle cars with teenagers driving them etc.. These things are there, and I do not think it is the responsibility of the government to throw thousands of people in jail, at great expense to the taxpayers for something like smoking pot. The war on drugs has not only failed to stop drug use, it has created a global environment that allows drug cartels to rise and challenge legitimate governments. Our drug laws put tremendous amounts of money into the hands of ruthless criminals. Incarcerating people (mostly young minority male) in our current prison system only labels them as criminals, introduces them to hardened criminals , and reduces their opportunities because of the criminal stigma. I grew up in the 60’s and most people I know have smoked pot at some point. i know plenty of responsible people living on this island that smoke it to this day ( I do not,btw ) . The point is,pot does not ruin lives anywhere near the degree that guns alcohol and tobacco do. All legal, and regulated. And do you think for a second that it is difficult to get pot today because it is illegal ?

          23. I tend to agree with you, dondon. I know many recreational smokers, on and off island, that are extremely productive with their lives.

            I would personally like to wring the neck of the first doctor that came up with the brilliant idea of penning a script for 90 Oxy and wishing his patient a good day. Talk about a watershed moment.

          24. This is what I mean that the medical marijuana law is not supported because people have compassion for those with medical need. Medical need has nothing, or very little to do with why people voted for this law. The “medical” excuse is just an excuse to legalize pot for all. You’re a person who admittedly wants to see pot legalized. Period. Don’t pretend it’s about medical use and then tell me I have no sympathy. Ridiculous. And, just so you know, I am still utterly shocked that you know a lot truck drivers who regularly get drunk and stoned, supposedly never while driving. Do you check to see how long they’ve taken to sober up before they get behind the wheel? Do you hear how you sound?

          25. Dondon…I did not see a single post where Jackie advocated weed be withheld from those that can benefit. It is clear to me that she is NOT assuming that position.

            Jackie is concerned about the kids…and I can understand that concern. Kids have an uncanny knack of getting into adult stash…pot, pills, hooch, firearms, etc.

            I applaud the passage of this bill, but it is clear that implementation has yet to be determined. In my opinion, that’s reckless.

          26. yup.. and Vineyard Haven is completely ruined because people can have beer and wine in the restaurants.. And where do you get the idea “potheads are allowed to drive stoned”? Stuff like that loses credibility for your rational comments.

      2. you just put the “hand” in handouts, which im sure taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill so people can get high, oh wait we do! theres EBT cards!

        1. I think all the studies show that legalizing pot will raise millions if not billions in tax revenue, and save similar amounts of money by not incarcerating young people. sorry, but your tax argument is way off mark. What is an EBT card ?

          1. An EBT (electronic benefit transfer) card is essentially a debit card version of a welfare check

  2. this is a bad idea, i have no problem with it helping people in need but i feel like soon the entire state of mass will become “doctor approved”, want an example”? go to california, everybody there has some sort of life debilitating problem that requires them to be high all day on pharmaceutical grade purple haze

    1. It seems pretty clear to me that at some point within the next few decades it will probably become completely unrestricted. This is a good stopgap to get people used to that idea.

      1. YUP!in the next few decades 90% of the country will be brain dead,up from the 75% now.

        1. then what happened to you ? i see you are positively spewing negativeity. open your mind, let the hate ,out enjoy life

      2. theres no justification period ! what a load of biased garbage .save the kids, what a laugh !! this would protect kids who by the way, get it now

        1. Just to clarify, I am in favor of full legalization, and I think this is a good step toward that.

    2. As opposed to the pharmaceutical companies making up disorders to sell their pills?

    3. Are you also campaigning for Massachusetts to ban the sale of alcohol? What’s the difference?

  3. Im sure there will be a permanent cloud of pot smoke over the island replacing the sea fog as all the local pot-heads get a letter to carry weed as their ‘pass’ from their favorite Dr. Unless it is properly sold through legal pharmacies that can attest to its purity and source, this law is a joke. Just ask any addict and they will tell you their first introduction to drugs was marijuana.

    1. Ask any addict if they ever drank alcohol and there will be a pretty high correlation, too. Correlation does not equal causation.

      edit: Put another way, a person that isn’t shy about snorting cocaine is probably not going to be put off by the idea of smoking marijuana. That doesn’t mean that smoking marijuana caused the person to do coke, even if it happened first.

      1. Amen. Every alcoholic who ever was has had water pass their lips. And no, they’re not alkies because they had that evil oxygen dihydride stuff, either.

    2. i’m lookin forward to that cloud of smoke pal!! lol we’re not concerned with your safety so don’t worry about ours .we got it covered!! lol any addict got their start on tobacco and alcohol. Stoners 10’000 Nocluehere 0

  4. I suffer from multiple sclerosis, and I plan to ask my neurologist for a prescription to obtain medical marijuana. Currently, I do not use it, as I wouldn’t know where to buy it. Even if I did, I would not wish to support the violent drug cartels who market the often tainted substance. We MS patients hope that the medical marijuana will be pure and grown apart from the cartels. I voted Yes on Question 3 in the November election, hoping to find a natural, non-invasive relief from the pain and suffering I endure.

    1. Why marjiuana? Aren’t there enough drugs to deal with pain that will give you that euphoric feeling, This joke of a law opens a dangerous door — where will it stop maybe we should legalize meth, crack, estasy or cocaine. This way we can have more usless people on dole voting for obama type candidates and America will be just a foot note in history!

      1. legalizing these drugs is the next step for these people,as soon as pot ain’t working for most of them they’ll be looking for bigger things.

  5. My brother is an addict who’s been clean for 10 years now. He will be the first to tell you that marijuana was his introduction into the drug culture and the people who deal. It is a gateway drug, no way around it. I’m not opposed to the medical use of marijuana for pain management, but this is definitely the classic slippery slope situation.

    1. Then if it was legal and sold like alcohol he wouldn’t have been introduced to people selling other drugs.

    2. imagine that, if we slipped all the way down the slope, lol weed would be cheap and plentiful .hardly any sick people!! joy would reign be throughout the land!! we could have stoner festivals!!! come to think of ot It would be paradise !!!! gee i feel better now

    3. Tennisstar…I’m happy to hear that your brother is clean and sober! That is terrific news.

      However, I have a difficult time with marijuana constantly being toted out there as a “gateway” drug. No offense intended, but it sounds as though your brother was predisposed/hard-wired to face an addiction issue in his life. Again, I’m thrilled he is winning his battle.

      I know a recovering heroin addict. His “gateway” drug? Sniffing airplane glue at the age of 12.

      1. My point exactly, dondon. It wasn’t my intention to discredit tennisstar’s post, only to point out that this “gateway drug” talk is becoing a worn out cliche, IMO.

        It could have been that first hit on a joint. It could have been that first taste of alcohol. It could have been that first teaspoon of cough syrup. It could have been that first sniff of glue. It could have been that first Tylenol with Codine tablet after a tooth extraction. Etc, etc, etc…

        Some will become addicted, some will not. My heart breaks for those that find themselves struggling. I make no judgement call on the matter.

  6. This is great. Most people on MV are ill anyway so when they get the prescriptions for their illnesses everyone will feel better, No one will work anymore and its going to be a great big party. Hope pot works for mitigating IQ degradation. Maybe everyone will become a conservative.

  7. Next year we should just go the extra step and just legalize it like Colorado and Washington. Those binding referendoms are sure a useful tool. I see them as the only way the majority has a voice in this country anymore.

      1. Actually there are many non binding referendums in this state for the full legalization of marijuana. There is overwhelming support to legalize it. It is a tool to see how the public feels about it and might be the extra push legislators need to pass a law legalizing it and tax it like alcohol and tobacco.

  8. Oh no its bad for our health and causes cancer……….then why are Marlboros legal?

    1. tobacco and coffee get a free pass as do so many recycleable items, but beer and soda produce less cans and bottles than vegetables and fruits

        1. Here’s what Doug Cabral has to say (this week, anyway) about those of us who object to the great grammatical dumbing down in his newspaper:

          “On the attack– Note that the terms outlaw personal attacks on other commenters. I find that these occur in two ways, both equally nasty. Some commenters don’t write as well as others. Their grammar is not perfect, neither is the spelling and punctuation. When these participants want to criticize another commenter, they write “You’re an idiot” or “You’re a fool” or something altogether vulgar. Such comments will not be tolerated. Other commenters, just as hateful but more literate, use disdain and condescension to do the trick. Each tactic is an attack, and neither is welcome.”

          Mr Cabral thinks that objecting to poor writing is nasty, condescending and hateful, and this “hatefulness” is unwelcome in his newspaper. I don’t agree with Mr. Cabral and think that certain posts stand out, screaming for correction. People learn to spell, punctuate, and generally write and speak correctly by reading and by listening. You don’t really have to be school educated to pay attention to these things. The more you read incorrectly written writings, the more you think that incorrect is correct. You end up speaking the same way as those around you, just as you end up writing the same as what you are reading. The whole “fewer” and “less” confusion began years ago when commercial ads first starting using “less” in place of “fewer”. People have listened to incorrect usage for so long, they not only accept it, they copy it. A lot of people have very limited reading and writing time. For some, blogging may be it. If Doug Cabral wants to improve his Comment Feature the way he is always telling us he does, he will want it to be of a higher standard in ALL areas.

          There are real personal attacks that Mr. Cabral does not object to, however. It appears that rather than correct a person’s poor grammar, if you want to attack someone personally, you can simply tell him or her they need to be on medication. These sorts of med-attack comments, given the long history of them never getting censored, are welcome at MVTimes. com.

          1. In my opinion Mr Cabral is an excellent writer and therefore shouldn’t object to corrections of grammar. Him and I have not went to that issue as yet although her and me are talking about it now. Less posts with incorrect grammar would be welcome by himself and myself. I admit I do talk about meds and idiots but only because many posts are so unenlightened I feel completely alone on MV. The latest medical marijuana law will dumb down this place even more.

          2. Saty on topic please Jackie. u2 semmelt, tired of hijacked threads, I havent mentioned the roundabout for a week now.

          3. It’s just SO hard, lol. Okay, I don’t support the legalization of medical pot because prolonged, recreational use makes people dumb and causes a loss of motivation in life. We can expect that the “medical” excuse of the law will give free rein to the recreational use with a note from a doctor. I know of too many young teens on the island who become potheads and lose all interest in all the areas of learning and growing that used to inspire them. They have no passion for anything except being stoned and doing the stoner thing. It’s really sad here, really, really sad. You’ll notice that the majority of the posts in this thread don’t even pretend to be about compassion for those with medical diseases looking for relief. People here just want to get high, and they want to do it legally. When a culture does not celebrate clarity of mind, you know it’s in deep trouble. I wonder if those rushing to be registered medical pot users realize they will have to give up their gun licenses? Thank you for not mentioning the roundabout.

          4. Personally, I don’t indulge. Took my last hit some 25 years ago. The stuff just made me paranoid and anxious.

            That said, I did vote for the bill. I can’t see denying relief to another human being.

            Will the new law be abused? Most likely, yes. But I’m far more concerned about the abuses of other legally prescribed medications that devastate the island. If a Vicadin can be replaced with a toke, I’m all for it!

          5. I think it is an enormous mistake not to advocate for COMPLETE clarity of mind, especially here on the Vineyard, where the issue is clearly not about medical need. The attitude of it being a lesser evil does a great disservice to our many 14 year-old potheads.

          6. Well, I certainly can’t disagree with your statement, but I have to be realistic here, Jackie. I think it is pretty much a rite of passage for a typical teenager to experiment at least once with the Peace Pipe. That doesn’t mean I condone it, but it doesn’t spark outrage in me either.

            It isn’t so much that I’m taking the lesser evil stance as much as I’m opting to pick my battles carefully. Stacked against the overall climate of substance abuse on the island, marijuana usage ranks pretty low in my book.

            I honestly don’t believe the island is riddled by an epidemic of fourteen-year-old potheads. Perhaps I’m naive on the issue. If indeed such a problem exists among such a young demographic, I would be more inclined to attribute it to failed parenting than laxed laws.

            I do understand your position, Jackie. Your arguments are consistently intelligent and compelling. And I agree…NOTHING should stunt the development of a young, creative mind. But I voted for the bill as presented…a viable option for those in need.

          7. complete clarity is a beautiful thing but then you miss out on the fun. this makes the clarity seekers jealous or pissed off or something so they dont like those who indulge. im not sayin that’s you . saying it’s cleary not about medical need leads us to suppose that you know, or think you know more than the rest of us. name one doctor whos lying about medical pot to back up your story

          8. It is almost always the blue states that do these things. Medical marijuana, and gay marriage and big welfare. The blue states are always in huge deficits, have larger crime rates and greater decline of population as smart people leave for better places. Illinois, California, MA, New York, Michigan are all becoming wastelands due to the policies of their local governments. Soon they will be full of gay marriages, broke and Wilie Nelson like people.
            Meanwhile the south is churched, fiscally disciplined, thriving economically and resisting the secularization of the poplulation. Chrtistmas trees are allowed and no one says happy holidays. MV is in the vanguard of the declining areas and the only thing that keeps it hanging by a thread is hard working brazilians.

          9. IF what you say is true then pot isn’t the reason for bad decisions or bad economics in any particular state. i don’t think Brazil has any connection to any of this. as far as gay marriages and Willie Nelson types it’s a free country isn’t it sounds like you are not very tolerant of others i personally don’t like some groups of people but i keep it to myself. i learned the hard way

          10. please don’t use the old tired ‘’tolerant’’ argument. All of us discriminate every day. You wouldn’t want a pedophile as a school principal or an uneducated lout as your tax planner. All of us don’t tolerate some things. this is not about being a free country. This is about what is healthy for us and having medical marijuana on MV which is a fraud to be exploited will do us no good.

          11. its good that you have the courage of your convictions right or wrong! but bad mouthin Willie Nelson aint gonna win ya any friends .i’d like to be more like him he wrote Crazy, anyway18 states full of people testify to that pot is not a fraud.if you got some hidden info then enlighten us. we’re happy to hear .show me your proof pot isnt medicine and ill send you 1000 $ anxiously awaiting your reply

          12. I have no doubt that some pot will mitigate some pain. but the medical marijuana issue has been exploited and is fraudulent. suddenly everyone has an illness and wants pot. You know it and I know it.

          13. im not sayin you are wrong about there being some exploitation.but thats no reason to deny sick people medicine . pot does WAYmore medicinally than stop pain . type in dave tripplett who cured himself of skin cancer there’s proof doctors documents and a video. a buddy of mine is treating his prostate cancer with pot oil ,a powerful cancer killer! we’ll know in about 2 weeks when the cat scan comes back if he’s cured . you got a friend or relative with cancer you then could possibly cure them with this knowledge

          14. if all this is true,then why is cancer still a disease,I have a friend that has lung cancer and with all the doctors he has seen,none has told him to smoke pot and you’ll be cured.

          15. no no and no .lol you take pot oil and eat it! it takes a pound of good weed to get 2 ounces of oil. the amount you’d need. costs a bushel but it’s worth it . you eat the oil a little at a time till you get used to it, till you are taking a gram a day. usually takes 2, 2 and a half months. people already treated with chemo and radiation have a lesser chance due to the damage it causes.its up to you to tell him and do it quick . watch Run from the cure and save your friend if its possible. this oil works on all types of cancer Scouts Honor

          16. Dear Bob William Knight,

            Just so you know, pot oil does not magically cure cancer. It can alleviate some pain and appetite issues, but it does not present any kind of curative prospect. When you post this sort of crackpot non-science, you associate all legalization advocates with what I’ll call “the crazy”. Please stop.

            signed,
            The Rest Of Us

            PS: Cancer is a lot of different problems with similar symptoms. The idea that there is a single panacea, much less one that is literally a plant that is picked from the ground, is stupid.

          17. pot oil cures cancer period .if you wont look it up then someone you know will die you could have saved . its your life, believe what you want but dont bellittle my knowledge if you dont have any

          18. I don’t think your comment is fair, Viva.

            You have strong opinions, and so does Bob. You may find Bob’s assertion that pot oil eradicates cancer reckless, but it is his opinion. He encourages others to do their own research on the matter, and reach their own conclusion. How is that “the crazy”?

            I’m cynical of Bob’s sweeping assertions, but he is speaking from his own research (and perhaps experience) on the matter. And he dared to share, only to be ridiculed.

            I have an inquisitve mind. I’ll entertain Bob’s theory on pot oil, and I’ll entertain the theory that it is bunk. But I need to do my own homework before I formulate an opinion.

            Is that not reasonable? Or am I just spewing “crackpot non-science” in requesting that this man not be attacked for his views?

          19. I have a reasonably open mind, but an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence. I know enough about medicine and science to find this guy’s claim crazy, but per his more recent posts it seems that he is actually engaging in some sort of business plan around this, making anything he says about it doubly suspicious. And doubly damnable, if he is taking money from desperate sick people in exchange for providing a “miracle” treatment that I am sure no serious oncologist would support. I don’t need to do research about such an extraordinary claim because it is prima facie absurd. Mad props to you for following up on your curiosity and giving the guy way more benefit of the doubt than he deserves, though.

          20. im not taking a penny. the weed came from somebody else . now its unproven meanspirited accusations.in two weeks we’ll know if it worked. i ve only done this once its not a business. you know Nothing about science and medicine just how to insult and accuse

          21. Bob…Viva is correct…I did not catch the “he believed me and invested $2500.00 in pot oil” detail. That does raise questions re: motivation. If not for the exchange of cash for product, I would be more likely inclined to support the “experiment.”

            I”m not calling you a charlatan, but I’m uncomfortable that this patient had to pony up $2500.00 to participate in this course of alternative treatment.

          22. my friend got him the pot .in my area i cost 2500 . if you know of free pot let me know. i never even got a a penny .my motivation was to save the guy .everybody in the world has to pony up the money if they take this treatment. i’m uncomfortable to have to explain to anyone why i did the right thing .instead of doubting me chek out 7 year old mkayla who takes the oil for her luekemia ,a gram a day. you think thats free ?

          23. Experimenting with pot oil on a 7-year-old child is just plain wrong, unless her parents are also following a doctor-prescribed course of chemotherapy and radiation for her cancer. Did little mkayla have any say in the matter?

          24. doctors dont like it but it seems to be negating the effects of the chemotherapy so the kid is normal. i think little Mkayla is happy to be alive . it only takes 2 minutes to see for yourself .theres videos all over the net . this is tried and true treatment just like the oil treatment for other cancers as opposed to an”experiment” Cash Hyde was treated for a brain tumor at 3 with the oil and it was working till the oil ran out sadly enough and theres others

          25. thats what it cost. instead chek out mkayla 7 who takes a gram of oil a day for her luekemia .are you uncomfortable with her paying for it

          26. why is cancer a disease environmental facfors and unhealthy lifestyles . pot oil could stop cancer in its tracks but the govt. wont listen and big pharma would be out of business.imagine 1 chemo treatment 20 to 40 grand whereas 1 pound of pot is 2 or 3 grand but free if you could grow it in your backyard. that’s why so called potheads are so upset

          27. They are legal and ostensibly well controlled and prescribed by doctors for certain conditions. With pot everyone will find themselves ill and will buy it. Don’t know what your point is.

          28. We over-prescribe narcotics in the medical profession. This is especially terrible because we have a great long-term pain-relief alternative with markedly less side effects in the form of marijuana.

          29. You are 100% correct. I would not want a pedophile as a school principlal or an uneducated “lout” as my tax preparer.

            Honestly, I just don’t see a stampede of folks rushing the doors of their doctor for a card. Why give up your firearm and ammo? Why risk being on some registry? Will medical marijuana be protected by HPPA? Will there be some code on driver’s licenses indicating the driver has a medical marijuana card like it does for wearing corrective lenses? I mean…really. Why not just keep your stash under an ounce at all times and pay the $100.00 fine if you’re caught? Sounds a whole lot easier to me.

            No fan of Ms. Powers, but I do see her point. If medical marijuana can offer her relief, she should explore the option with her doctor. Ms. Powers doesn’t want to fuel illegal drug activity, and she wants to make sure her prescribed weed isn’t laced. She’s been stricken with MS, and she wants to play by the rules. She has every right to request benefit from this new law.

            I would like to see the Times do a follow-up article from the standpoint of island physicians, pain specialists and Hospice of MV on the matter. I’m sure there are doctors that embrace this measure, and others that vehemently oppose it. And since it is the doctors that ultimately issue the script, their voices should be heard on this controversial issue.

            But yeah…two thumbs down on pedophile principals. You’ll get no argument from me on that one…

          30. just think about the positive side lol.some of the tee shirt shops will become head shops and stay open year round (great for the island)I’m willing to bet that the number of 14 year old pot heads will double and the number of 14 year old(if there is a number)alcoholics won’t change

          31. in Holland weed is easy to get in coffee shops but teen drug use is half what ours is .i’ll take that bet

          32. I agree. Pot is not a harmless substance. And I speak as a member of the foundational pot and LSD generation on the island. I can probably even name the summer boy who introduced it here in 1965. I’ve watched pot ruin lives, particularly the teens who will never reach their potential because of chronic pot use. The teen drug culture here is a serious issue. A few people can get away smoking pot, but there is also evidence that for some people, pot smoking and the use of hallucinogenics opens the door to depression and psychosis. The legalization of marijuana is just one more symptom of the “anything goes” generation. Yeah, I’m an old fuddie-duddie now.

          33. there is no link between pot and psychosis and depression. depressed or psychotic people were already like that . other drugs maybe

          34. If you do a little research, you will find that yes, there are studies that show a correlation between pot and lsd use and subsequent mental problems.

          35. Show me a study like that from Europe, where it is actually legal for non-partisan organizations to do studies on illegal substances.

          36. ive done a lot of research and there is no correlation. lsd is a different story

          37. Once a proofreader, always a proofreader . . . I automatically proofread and edit everything I read, but that does not give me the right to inflict my intellectual pretensions on other commenters.

    2. it can actually cure cancer and improve Everyones health but you got a good point

        1. im offering 1000 dollars for proof of your statement .this comment has been deleted 2 times now but im stickin to my guns

      1. i see 5 thumbs down and i wonder if this is meaness or willful plain ignorance. a cursory investigation by anyone proves pot cures cancer. ask Rick Simpson . take the 1000 dollar challenge if you dont believe .it prove i’m wrong and get the cash .im waiting lol money talks you know the rest

    1. marijuana is a plant, so are hops. so is tobacco, so are poppies, so is poison ivy – what’s your point?

  9. there will still be plenty of illegal pot just like there is plenty of illegal pills so why bother as it stands now,if caught with drugs your chances of punishment is nil,besides when it’s time for the despensories to be established, it will be the now drug dealers that will have them,MV. is a druggie haven now ,why make it worse !!

    1. so very very wrong Mr Negative it will spread till its free. free ganga for everyone. ah ,heaven lol

    2. you sure do have a lot of predictions on your comments.. Got anything against this law that is grounded in reality ?

  10. Once again the small minded folk of The Times are unable to see how this could help so many people, including some of their loved ones, and the island as a whole. I know we are all going to act like nobody on this island smokes as it is, we’re going to pretend this will change everything.

    I have never seen anyone here speak against all the alcoholism on this island.
    Never seen anyone speak out against the cigarette smoking.
    I haven’t even seen anyone talking honestly about the oh so obvious prescription pill issue on this island.

    But that’s to be expected, this topic is one that is great for the trolls to come out for. You get to spew false information calling it a gateway drug, addicts can blame marijuana on their debilitating issue, and we can all ignore the amount of money the Commonwealth will make from taxes, licenses, etc, which would most certainly help out the economy.

    But hey, at least there won’t be so many helicopter trips up-island looking for plants, violating “privacy”

    1. Ten star post, IMO!

      “Ms. Manning said that surveys of Martha’s Vineyard school students reveal that while the underage use of alcohol is decreasing, marijuana use is on the rise.”

      Not perfect, mind you, but definitely encouraging. Honestly, would “surveys of Martha’s Vineyard school students reveal that while the underage use of marijuana is decreasing, alcohol use is on the rise” make you all feel better?

      I would hope not.

    2. alcohol and cigarette smoking have age limits on them and also legal and are a drop in the bucket compared
      to the drug problem here,as far as the pill problem is no different than what will happen with pot,people are gonna get it for greying hair,a hang nail,or what ever any quack doctor wants to hand out,this is going to be the second biggest mistake the state has ever made,thank God most towns have postponed any action on this,so tell your drug dealer he or she still have a job

      1. It may actually be illegal to use local laws to prevent prohibit these places. We’ll see who gets the last laugh on that one.

  11. Live and let live…and yet this land of the free is so brainwashed by the “War on drugs” and its judgement of one another that many continue predjudice against people for belief in something they don’t personally condone…Don’t like marajuana? Don’t use it! I for one will use it -if I have menstrual cramps, muscle aches, need to relax! etc… I don’t care if you call me a “druggie” a “hippie” etc your names and judgement will come right back to you..remember those without sin cast the first stones? If your family members have addiction problems you can bet they had other personal issues going on …gateway drug, my butt. I’ve smoked for years and balance a career, a family, and I do my best to serve the community, be a good person. I know so many many people who do the same, who are closet smokers because they feel deep down it is a good healing thing, yet so many of you condemn them, throw them in jail, call them names. Yes, people abuse it, but people abuse women, alcohol, Get fired up about that won’t you! If you’re worried about the children spend time with them, put them in creative outlets, support them, educate them! The real problem lies in not being a caring supportive society where we lift each other up in our differences never mind condemning what you don’t believe in.

    1. isn’t this the same way people thought back in the day about cocane,it was the wonder drug of the time,coca cola was a medicine,most cough syrups were full of it,dentist used it,alot of people died and alot were addicted,finally the goverment steped in and saw it for what it is,so now it is an illegal drug,the same as pot is as far as the feds see it and i can only hope the feds step in here.

      1. 1) Except Americans had no real expertise with drugs or the idea of addiction back then.

        2) Marijuana is a completely different drug from cocaine. Contrary to what they may have taught you back in the forties (or whenever) it isn’t addictive in any meaningful sense. People have been using pot for a long time now, and it isn’t like we’re wandering off into a narcotic terra incognita.

        3) The feds aren’t going to step in. They only intervene in California when the dispensaries break state laws, and even then only when there is a lot of money and assets to confiscate.

        4) Marijuana is almost certainly going to be legal within the next decade or two. The momentum is there, and the older generation that grew up with some serious prejudices is dying off. I don’t smoke, but I’m looking forward to all you neo-temperance types getting your legislative comeuppance.

  12. Here’s what most people forget…You can grow marijuana yourself. This
    frees us from the tyranny of the prescription drug companies who pay the
    special interest groups in the Federal Government. The price of health
    care today is enslaving our people-while making millions for these
    companies-if you don’t think so, then your lucky you obviously can
    afford it. Not so for millions of Americans. I tell you it helps me
    every month when my womanly issues come up and you call this the land of
    the free?!?! I should have the GOD given right to GROW my own
    medicines from the EARTH! To take care of myself! This is an era in our
    history where, like never before, corporations are controlling so much of
    our policies and private interest groups they sway government policies in
    whatever direction keeps the business profits highest. Legalizing fully
    could also help with the human rights atrocities going on in
    Mexico-mostly from our drug consumption AND our weapons sales. But I
    know America it’s just an EVIL drug.

    1. Semmelt was right. We’ve gone from using pot to alleviate the suffering from MS to a cure for menstrual cramps. What’s next, the boo-boo on your toe? Do you really need a legal excuse to get stoned, because that is what you are demanding.

  13. if you are a sociopath thats alright ,we got room for everybody .angry people cant be happy. you’re choosing anger and attacking people who need medicine instead of happiness. good luck and have a nice day

  14. Your claim about cancer would be laughable if it were not dealing with such a serious topic. I understand that it is emotionally convenient to believe that there is a simple cure, but cancer is an incredibly complicated, terrible disease, and some oil you squeeze out of some leaves will not cure it, no matter how well it fits into your “dern tha gubmint” conspiracy-theorist worldview.

  15. it doesnt work every time that would be majic but it does work. im helping a man with prostate cancer now . we’ll know if hes cured in 2 or 3 weeks. he believed me and invested 2500 dollars in pot oil .either look it up or don’t bother me . shame on you

  16. Okay, Bob. I bit. I Googled “Cannabis Oil Cancer” and sure enough, numerous artilces and testimonials appeared on my screen. Some quite compelling, I must say. However, with the exception of one questionable Harvard study (it was poorly cited…no author, no date, no stats), the majority of the articles appeared to originate from pro-marijuana websites. I didn’t see any articles penned by an oncologist.

    I will say this: The magic of belief is powerful, and perhaps even curative. I will never underestimate the power of faith.

    I’ll keep an open mind. I’m not going to dismiss your claim as flat-out quackery, nor am I going to accept it at face value. I intend to delve deeper into the subject matter and hope to come upon some empirical studies.

    Thanks for bringing the issue to my attention. Interesting stuff in my opinion. Not sure it holds water, but you should not be attacked for making mention of it.

  17. mckeekitty if this was not true i bet there would be a lot of doctors putting it down . lol check out Israel.knowledge is power and once you know you can save somebodys life. nothing is more important Happy 420

  18. LOL! Happy 4:20 pm to you, too, Bob!

    Too funny.

    I think you took the responsible approach in encouraging others to simply research the matter on their own and draw their own conclusions. I think it is important to consider the source of these articles, and to determine if they are truly objective or if there is an embedded bias.

    I don’t like to see posters that color outside of the lines maligned. This issue you have raised has piqued my interest. I have an inquistive mind, and appreciate the stimuli.

    PS…Per chance, do you have any reference by an oncologist on the issue?

  19. check out mkayla comstock ,dave hill,dave tripplett,tommy chong ,and rick simpson on youtube they all have doctors proof