Medical Marijuana Claims and Facts

Ballot Information | Claims and Facts | FAQ | State Comparison Infographic

Opponents have claimed that marijuana is not medicine because it must be smoked.

FACT: Most patients administer medical marijuana through a vaporizer, which releases the therapeutic ingredients of medical marijuana. Patients may also administer the medicine through a tincture.

Opponents have claimed that there is not enough evidence that marijuana is an effective or safe medicine.

FACT: In a 2012 review of state sponsored clinical trials, researchers dispelled questions about the effectiveness of medical marijuana, noting, “It is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.” (Medical Marijuana Clearing Away the Smoke, The Open Neurology Journal, 2012, 6 18-25, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3358713/).

Opponents have claimed that the proposed law will lead to a spike in youth use of marijuana.

FACT: There is no correlation between medical marijuana laws and increases in youth use. The studies are clear: Medical Marijuana: A Status Report, Harvard Catalyst, 2011, http://catalyst.harvard.edu/pdf/chirp/Medical_Marijuana_Report.pdf, and Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use, Institute for the Study of Labor, 2012, http://ftp.iza.org/dp6592.pdf.

Opponents have claimed that Massachusetts will see hundreds of treatment centers open.

FACT: There will be a maximum of 35 non-profit treatment centers in the state, with no more than five treatment centers in any one county. The state will register all treatment centers, require all staff to pass a criminal background check, and can modify the number of centers in later years only if there is a finding by the state that patient needs are not being met.

It will also be the safest medical marijuana law in the country and makes it a felony for anyone who obtains marijuana by defrauding the medical marijuana system for distribution. Please see this infographic comparing state medical marijuana laws.

Opponents have claimed that allowing physicians to recommend medical marijuana for conditions other than cancer, HIV, or terminal illnesses is a “loophole.”

FACT: Clinical studies have proven that patients with conditions other than cancer, HIV, or terminal illnesses can benefit from medical marijuana. Hear directly from patients suffering from conditions such as paralysis, allodynia, cyclic vomiting syndrome and debilitating pain who clearly have benefited from medical marijuana. The initiative also requires that doctors writing recommendations for medical marijuana have a bona fide relationship with their patients and that the state verify all recommendations for any patient.

Opponents have claimed that marijuana recommendations will be “valid for life.”

FACT: The state will establish the time frame for renewal of medical marijuana registrations when regulations are written.

Opponents have claimed that many residents of other states with medical marijuana do not support it.

FACT: No state has overturned a medical marijuana law because residents recognize the importance of safe access to medical marijuana for patients with serious illnesses.

Opponents have claimed that doctors who recommend medical marijuana to patients will face prosecution by the DEA.

FACT: Doctors cannot be prosecuted for writing a medical marijuana recommendation because it is an exercise of free speech (Conant v. Walters – Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals).