Get on with medical marijuana


To the Editor:

This is in response to a Letter to the Editor Marijuana dispensary law, not honest or sound, published October 31. I think the letter’s author is misinterpreting or misrepresenting a few points here.

She says, “Health insurance — whether public or private — will not help you pay for medical marijuana. If marijuana truly is medicine, why not?”

The law states “Nothing in this law requires any health insurance provider, or any government agency or authority, to reimburse any person for the expenses of the medical use of marijuana.”

Not requiring insurance companies to cover this is quite different. If an insurance company offers it as a benefit, then they pay. It all depends on how the policy is written.

She says “Medical marijuana, in its current form, will not be dispensed by “prescription.” There are no standard dosages to guide the patient or caregiver in administration.”

I agree. The law does not require a conventional prescription. but the law does state “written certification by a physician shall constitute a registration card for a qualifying patient.”

Isn’t a “written certification by a physician” pretty close to a “prescription”?

I am not sure why she is concerned about a particular dosage. It will certainly vary with the patient’s needs, and it seems reasonable to let the patient decide what is appropriate for them. It is about being comfortable, after all, not curing a specific infection or disease. This is a substance that you cannot overdose on (in the conventional use of the word). What difference does it make how much an individual consumes ?

The law does not allow driving under the influence. The law states “Nothing in this law allows the operation of a motor vehicle, boat, or aircraft while under the influence of marijuana.”

The author is also concerned about people “sharing.” There is nothing in the law that states you can “share” it. In fact, the law states, “if such fraudulent use is for the distribution, sale, or trafficking of marijuana for non-medical use for profit, it shall be a felony punishable by up to five years in state prison or up to two and one half years in the house of correction.”

If someone “shares” their legally acquired marijuana they are breaking the law, just as if they “share” their legally acquired oxycontin. If someone chooses to break the law, that does not mean the law is flawed.

I could not find a reference to her assertion that 10 ounces is considered a 60-day supply.

The author also resorts to linking this with the Department of Public Health, citing a few unfortunate situations that have occurred within the regulatory responsibilities of that agency in recent years. It is an unnecessary, negative, mean-spirited, and irrelevant comment. Unfortunately, these kinds of comments are becoming more commonplace in our increasingly more divided society and, I think, contribute to continued polarization. I will point out the DPH has done literally millions of things correctly during that time period and has undoubtedly contributed to the overall health of the citizens of this state. By negatively commenting about the DPH, the author is choosing to say the glass is one percent empty. I choose to say the glass is 99 percent full.

This law was voted into existence a full year ago and became effective on January 1, 2013. The towns of Martha’s Vineyard have done little to implement this overwhelming mandate by the voters. People are suffering while well-intentioned people dither over ideologically held opinions. The voters and the patients deserve better from their elected officials. It is time to get on with it.

Don Keller

Vineyard Haven