Since the inception of the Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana and its passage in 2012, the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance's agenda has been solely to support the patients and their safe access to medical marijuana. We aim to implement the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program as written in statute and as intended in spirit. Throughout the years, our organization's task list may have changed, but our agenda has remained the same. Safe access for patients!
Our Mission: The Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, Inc. will have the purpose of working with local and state governmental bodies to ensure the social welfare of medical marijuana patients, doctors, caregivers, medical professionals, advocates, and the general public while developing and implementing laws, policies, and regulations related to medical marijuana and its safe use. The corporation will conduct such other activities and programs in furtherance of the foregoing purposes as may be carried out by a corporation organized under the massachusetts general laws chapter 180 and under section 501(c)(4) of the internal revenue code. The corporation will not engage in any activity that requires registration with the massachusetts department of public health.
Preserve and Maintain the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program for Patients
Medical marijuana advocates fear changes to pot law written by Christian M. Wade Statehouse Reporter
"The House and Senate are debating a host of changes to the voter-approved law, which allows adults 21 and older to have up to 10 ounces of the drug, and a dozen pot plants on their property. Most of the proposed changes focus on increasing a 12 percent maximum tax rate and giving cities and towns more power to block retail pot shops, which are set to open next year.
But the proposals also would shift regulation of medical pot from the state Department of Public Health to a new cannabis control commission, which would operate similar to the state’s casino board.
Medical marijuana advocates say that essentially lumps people who use cannabis for medicinal purposes in with those who just want to get stoned.
“This is a medical industry that has taken years to develop,” said Nichole Snow, executive director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, which represents medical pot patients. “Now they want to change it to an adult-use industry.”
Hurting medical marijuana
Snow said the focus on commercial pot will marginalize patients and hurt medical marijuana dispensaries that are still struggling to develop a viable industry.
That’s what happened in Washington state, she said, which effectively dismantled its medical marijuana program last year, merging it with recreational pot. Most medical dispensaries were shut out of the recreational market, Snow said, and scores of pediatric patients couldn’t get their medicine."
Patients Call for Action
Medical marijuana patients threaten lawsuit over slow pace of dispensary licensing written by Shira Schoenberg, MassLive
A group of medical marijuana patients on Monday called it "scandalous" that Gov. Deval Patrick's administration will take more than two years to open any medical marijuana dispensaries.
"The lack of movement on implementing the law is becoming a serious public health issue, it's a quality of life issue and at this point, it's an issue about ineffective government and leadership," said Matthew Allen, executive director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance. "We're outraged, and we feel the process has now been subsumed by politics before patients, and it appears the governor wants to try to skip out of office without addressing medical marijuana."
New Baker Administration Revamps Licensing Process; Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance Begins Support of Statewide Implementation of the MA Medical Marijuana Program
Massachusetts medical marijuana program faces deficit over $1 million written by Shira Schoenberg, MassLive
The Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance has been critical of how long the medical marijuana licensing process has taken, and Snow said the deficit is another consequence of a process that was too stringent.
"They were spending money on God knows what, and it wasn't to make any progress," Snow said. "They spent money that just wasn't there."
A spokesman for a trade association representing several of the state's licensed dispensaries declined to comment.
The projected deficit is only the latest setback for a program that has been beset by problems. There have been lawsuits by unsuccessful medical marijuana companies, though judges have generally found in favor of the state. Applications that were provisionally approved were found to have problems, such as overstated levels of local support or officers who had trouble running dispensaries in other states. But when the state put the licensing process on hold to do additional checks, patient advocates complained of delays.
Department of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, who was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker, announced recently that the administration is revamping the licensing process. The new process will allow dispensaries to apply for licenses on a rolling basis, and each one will be scored individually. Previously, the state set deadlines for applications, then analyzed the entire group simultaneously.
Demand soaring at state’s lone marijuana dispensary written by Kay Lazar, Boston Globe
"More than 20,000 people have obtained the required physician certifications to legally buy marijuana for medical use, and nearly 12,000 of them have completed registration to shop in a dispensary, state records show.
“There are a lot of patients out there who still need access to medical marijuana, and the big concern is that they are getting medicine from an unregulated market,” Snow said. “We want the lab testing to be thorough but not so stringent that dispensaries can’t provide the medicine patients need.”
Expand the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program to Underserved Communities
Massachusetts' 9th Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens in Newton report by Craig Lemoult, WGBH
"It’s been four years since Massachusetts voters approved medical pot, and this is just the ninth dispensary to open. 55 others are well into the approval process."