Ask your legislator to cosponsor the medical marijuana legislation for the 2015 - 2016 legislative session! Bill summary is at the bottom of this page. You can download a copy of the Bill here
Seeking Cosponsors for HD 1502
2015 – 2016 Legislative Session
In 2012, Massachusetts voters passed the Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana by over 63%. But patients still do not have safe access to their medicine because of delays in implementation at the state level. Dispensaries are slated to open soon but as of January 2015 only a few have been authorized to plant seeds.
This bill reinstates the personal cultivation system as an alternative to the dispensary system that is not yet operational. It addresses issues that the law is silent on, such as discrimination and reciprocity with other states. It also clarifies ambiguities that have caused unintended difficulties for patients.
The 2015-2016 legislative session has now begun. MPAA is organizing in support of House Docket 1502, “An Act to protect patients approved by physicians and certified by the department of public health to access medical marijuana.” Legislators have until the end of January 2015 to sign on as cosponsors of our bill. The more cosponsors a bill has, the greater the chance that the legislature will pass it.
But five to ten thousand bills will be filed. No one will cosponsor our bill unless they are asked.
After the co-sponsorship period ends, the bill will be given a new number and assigned to a committee made up of state Senators and Representatives. The bill will receive a public hearing held by the committee sometime before April 2016.
You can read a summary of the at the bottom of this page.
Contact your State Senator and State Representative and ask them to cosponsor House Docket 1502. In order of effectiveness you can:
Schedule an appointment to meet them in their office,
Talk to them or a staff person on the phone,
Write a letter, or
Send an e-mail.
You can find out who your representative is here:
Scroll down to find your State Representative and State Senator.
WHO SHOULD WRITE THEIR LEGISLATOR?
Patients with debilitating conditions presenting physical symptoms are encouraged to contact their state representatives, as are their family members and medical professionals.
● Medical marijuana patients with conditions that present physical symptoms: muscle spasticity, nausea or vomiting, debilitating pain, seizures, or other conditions.
● Family members and friends of patients who fit the description above.
● Medical professionals who support safe access for patients.
● Anyone who supports safe access for patients!
See sample letter below.
Medical Marijuana Advocacy Dos and Don’ts:
Don't say: weed, ganja, pot, legalize, smoke, get high
Do say: medical cannabis, medical marijuana, allow safe access, administer medicine, medicate
Don't: compare medical marijuana to alcohol, talk about how it helps you drive, or talk about how marijuana should be legalized for everyone.
Do: compare medical marijuana to oxycontin and other pharmaceuticals, talk about how laws should be reformed to allow “for safe access for qualifying patients with their doctor's recommendation.”
Don’t get off topic. This is not a public education event- we aren't talking about the history of medical marijuana, the “drug war,” or about recreational use of marijuana.
Dress appropriately: Dress professionally, business attire is best. Wear a suit if you have one. Remember that there are a lot of stereotypes associated with marijuana that we are trying to counteract. BE POLITE!
Be concise: Give a clear and concise description of your position on the issue. Keep it short and simple, don’t use complicated jargon that someone may not understand
Be clear and specific as to what relief from physical symptoms you get from medical cannabis: “it reduces my muscle spasticity” or “it relieves my nausea” are good examples of this; avoid general characterizations such as “it helps me feel better.”
If your primary care physician approves of your medical marijuana use, say so.
SAMPLE SCRIPT or LETTER
My name is _____________________ and I am a resident of _______________________.
I am contacting you today to ask that you cosponsor House Docket 1502. This issue is important to me because I am a medical marijuana patient (or I know a patient, or I know someone who could have benefited from safe access). The condition I suffer from (or that my friend/family members suffers from) __________________________________________________________________________
The symptoms I (or my friend or family member) uses/used/could have used medical marijuana to address include: __________________________________________________________________________
Medical marijuana addresses these symptoms with less side effects than drugs like:________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
When I or my friend or family member have/has access to medical marijuana, his/her quality of life improves substantially. For instance: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The voters passed the medical marijuana law in 2012, but two years later most patients in the state do not have safe access because the program is still not fully implemented. This bill would ensure that patients could access medical marijuana while it is not available from dispensaries. It would also make sure that medical marijuana patients are not discriminated against in employment or housing or by state agencies.
I hope you will cosponsor HD 1502 to help patients in the Commonwealth.
Thanks for your attention to this important issue.
Problem: Patients in assisted living facilities and nursing homes have reported that in some cases, staff are reluctant to help patients administer their medical marijuana even though this activity is protected under existing law.
Solution: Clarify that employees of hospice providers, nursing or medical facilities and others would not need to register with the state in order to assist with their patients' medical use of marijuana.
Problem: Current definitions in the law and regulations could allow law enforcement to count unusable marijuana towards the amount allotted for patient's medical use.
Solution: In addition to usable medicine and plants, allow patients to possess leaves and cuttings that are in a stage of preparation for use.
SECTION 3/ SECTION 7
Problem: Unlike prescriptions that are honored across state lines, the medical marijuana law in Massachusetts only protects residents.
Solution: Allow reciprocity for patients who are registered in other states.
Problem: Medical marijuana patients face discrimination despite protections from criminal penalties established under the existing law.
Solution: Clarify that patients may not be denied professional licensure, organ transplant, housing, enrollment in a school or university or employment solely for their status as a medical marijuana patient. Protect parents from actions by child welfare agencies solely for their status as a medical marijuana patient.
Problem: Patients permitted to cultivate should not have to wait several months for seeds to grow before they can access it.
Solution: Allows dispensaries to sell seedlings to patients.
Problem: The personal cultivation system, which allows patients to appoint a caregiver to grow for them, is currently not functional due to the 1:1 caregiver ratio issued in regulations.
Solution: Fix the caregiver system by allowing caregivers to cultivate for up to 10 patients.
Problem: Currently, it is virtually impossible for pediatric patients to enroll in the program because they need two doctors to write medical marijuana recommendations, and many larger medical institutions have put policies in place that forbid their employees from doing so.
Solution: Still require pediatric patients to receive a serious diagnosis from two physicians, but require only one to sign the medical marijuana recommendation.
Problem: Patients suffering with debilitating illnesses often face financial distress. Taxing medicine will increase its cost to the vulnerable population trying to access it.
Solution: Make medical marijuana tax-exempt like prescription medications.