Dukes County Health Council sponsors medical marijuana info meeting

— Photo courtesy of DEA

“It’s well known that I opposed Question 3,” Kevin Sabet told a gathering that the Duke’s County Health Council (DCHC) sponsored last Thursday morning. “I do oppose legalization, although I’m not going to get into it today. The important thing is that Question 3 is now a law and many of you are now grappling with what to do with it, so that’s what this is about.” Question 3 refers to the statewide ballot question, approved by 74 percent of Massachusetts voters in November, that will permit medical marijuana dispensaries statewide.

Mr. Sabet was the featured speaker at the September 19 informational meeting for health council members who are trying to get their arms around the implications of the new Massachusetts law.

The meeting at the West Tisbury Fire Department featured the former senior advisor on drug control policy under President Barack Obama, Mr. Sabet. He is also the current director of anti-legalization group, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), along with Patrick Kennedy. He included in his remarks a few “disclaimers.” His association with an organization hostile to medicinal marijuana was not the most important credential the DCHC members were looking for. They are struggling to get ahead of the quickly moving process that will permit medicinal marijuana dispensaries in Dukes County, and Mr. Sabet is an expert.

Mr. Sabet’s slideshow presentation outlined several policies, procedures, and prevention tactics associated with marijuana consumption.

“Selectmen, city council members, the board of health, and the zoning board all need get involved and be engaged,” Mr. Sabet said.

The meeting, intended by the DCHC to help educate its members, Island officials, and the public, was sparsely attended. One DCHC goal was to open a dialogue for town officials and marijuana dispensary applicants. Along with several DCHC members, three of the four dispensary applicants attended: Susan Sanford, president of Vineyard Complementary Medicine, Mark and Jordan Wallace of the Kingsbury Group Corporation, and Geoff Rose of Patient Centric of Martha’s Vineyard.

David Caron, chairman of the DCHC and director of the pharmacy at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, said the conversation will continue at the next DCHC meeting October 24.