DPH slows medical marijuana fixes, infuriating patients

Governor Charlie Baker’s administration has frozen an effort to expand the availability of medical marijuana, infuriating advocates who say the long-pending regulatory changes — which include allowing more medical professionals to prescribe and administer the drug — would help tens of thousands of sick patients.

“Medical marijuana patients are being told to wait and take a back seat by the Department of Public Health while the adult-use [recreational] industry gets priority,” said Michael Latulippe, development director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance.

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More medical pot dispensaries offering home delivery in Massachusetts

Often facing long drives to the nearest medical marijuana dispensary, some patients with debilitating conditions are opting for home delivery.

“It’s something that patients say they really want,” said Nichole Snow, a Salem resident and president of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance. “Many patients are homebound, really ill or don’t have a caregiver. A long trip is not practical because they’re in too much pain and don’t want to expose themselves to more illness.”

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Cannabis Control Commission meets with its advisory board

The Cannabis Advisory Board met for the first time in Boston on Tuesday at a joint meeting with the Cannabis Control Commission.

The 25-member board is tasked with studying and making recommendations to the Commission on the regulation and taxation of marijuana.

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State begins writing weed regs

The panel that will study and make recommendations on regulating marijuana in Massachusetts — the first piece of a growing regulatory structure — is on track to be finalized by the end of the week when the governor names the final five members.

Nichole Snow, president and executive director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, will also serve on the board and named Michael Latulippe, a medical marijuana patient who works with the alliance, to the board on Tuesday.

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Medical pot access on cape remains limited

Nearly five years after voters made marijuana legal for medical purposes, the Cape and Islands are still without a single dispensary, which has forced many patients to turn to the black market or legally questionable delivery services to purchase what they say is life-improving medicine.

“Patients are not being served on the Cape,” said Michael Latulippe, development director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance. “The Cape is one of these areas, including the Islands, that has very little access at this time.”

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Ruling means Massachusetts companies can't fire workers for medical marijuana

Massachusetts companies cannot fire employees who have a prescription for medical marijuana simply because they use the drug, the state’s highest court ruled Monday, rejecting employers’ arguments that they could summarily enforce strict no-drug policies against such patients.

“We are thrilled that the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has ruled in favor of compassion for people that use medical marijuana for a range of debilitating conditions,” the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, which sponsored the state’s successful 2012 medical marijuana ballot initiative, said in a prepared statement. 

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Medical marijuana advocates in Massachusetts fear changes to pot law

Lisa Cole fought for years to get state approval to give medical marijuana to her 8-year-old daughter, and she searched even longer for a doctor willing to prescribe it.

“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.”

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Parents fear loss of medical marijuana for seizure control

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ plan to end the use of medical marijuana has Lisa and Laurence Cole concerned.

Nichole R. Snow, executive director of Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, which drafted the medical marijuana initiative, said dozens of more dispensaries are set to open soon, which likely means a wider range of available strains suitable for children like Maddie. 

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A 28 percent tax on marijuana? That’s the plan under the latest bill

In a sweeping rewrite of the voter-passed marijuana legalization measure, House leaders will advance a bill Wednesday that would more than double the total tax on recreational pot and give municipal officials — instead of local voters — the power to ban cannabis shops and farms.

“The Justice Department could, any day, decide they’re going to crack down on adult-use [recreational] marijuana,” said Michael Latulippe, development director at the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, which backed the state’s 2012 ballot measure to legalize medical cannabis.

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Recreational pot challenges medical shops

Can medical marijuana survive in a recreational marijuana world?

Massachusetts advocates are also calling on the state to ease some regulations on patients, including eliminating the $50 registration fee and two- to four-week waiting period to receive a medical marijuana card. That should boost enrollment and make the medical market more attractive financially, according to the MPAA.

“We’re going to fight to keep the medical program viable by fixing the registration process,” said Michael Latulippe, the group’s development director.

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