GRAFTON, Mass. - On Nov. 6, citizens will be going to the polls to cast their vote on some very serious issues. One of these issues is Question 3 which deals with medical marijuana.
The following is a press release issued by the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association regarding this subject.
On Nov. 6, Massachusetts voters will be asked to decide whether or not to permit the growing, sale and possession of “medical marijuana” (Question 3). If the initiative passes, 35 marijuana dispensaries will open across the Commonwealth and people who claim financial and transportation challenges will be permitted to grow their own marijuana. If the experiences of other states are any indicator, communities with marijuana dispensaries should expect an increase in crime in the neighborhoods where they are located.
Most professional medical associations maintain that marijuana is not a medicine at all and that it should not be administered to patients. Among groups that have taken formal stances against “medical marijuana” are the American Medical Association, the British Medical Association, the American Glaucoma Society, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies and the American Cancer Society.
The active ingredient in marijuana is delta‐9 tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC. For decades, it has been on the market as a prescription drug in capsule form and available to doctors who believe it would help their patients. The proponents of Question 3 support the smoking of marijuana, a carcinogen, over the administration of THC by prescription.
According to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance, the committee supporting Question 3 has raised nearly $1.1 million already. Of that amount, 96 percent came from outside Massachusetts. This is nothing new. Prior to the 2008 election, the committee supporting marijuana decriminalization raised $1.2 million, 83 percent of which came from outside Massachusetts. We can expect to see TV ads in the very near future touting marijuana as some sort of medicine.
Police officers have already seen an increase in marijuana use by adolescents and motorists as a result of the decriminalization of marijuana. The passage of a law making it appear that marijuana has medicinal properties would further mislead the public and lead to increased use.
Question 3 would permit people with marijuana cards to possess and carry a two month supply of marijuana, an amount that would in almost all circumstances support a criminal charge of possessing with the intent to distribute.
Most states with “medical marijuana” laws have experienced increases in crime in the neighborhoods where dispensaries are located as criminals target them for break‐ins and their customers for robberies.
The growing and distribution of marijuana that would be allowed under Question 3 are violations of federal law and subject to enforcement action by federal law enforcement agencies. In late September, US law enforcement agents raided a number of dispensaries in California. While the Obama administration initially announced that it would not take enforcement action against dispensaries in states with “medical marijuana” laws, they have reversed that position and US attorneys are taking enforcement action in many states.
Law enforcement agencies in other states have reported young, healthy looking people carrying marijuana and marijuana cards signed by doctors who have become an easy mark. There have also been numerous cases of people with marijuana cards selling their marijuana on the black market.
The text of Question 3 is available online, but the salient parts of the initiative are:
- People would be permitted to possess and carry marijuana if they obtain a marijuana card authorized by a physician. The cards never expire, allowing cardholders to use marijuana indefinitely.
- The standard for issuance of a card includes several maladies, but the paragraph ends with the words, “and other conditions as determined in writing by a qualified patient’s physician.” In other words, a physician may authorize a person to obtain marijuana for a wide variety of reasons.
- People with marijuana cards would be permitted to carry up to a 60 day supply of marijuana.
- The law would direct the Department of Public Health to determine what a sixty day supply is. (It just may be that DPH should be attending to more important matters than this.)
- In the first year, there may be 35 marijuana dispensaries around the state, but DPH would have the authority to raise that number after the first year.
- DPH “shall” issue authorization to a person to grow his own marijuana if he has a financial hardship, a physical incapacity to access transportation or a lack of a dispensary within a reasonable distance. Those terms are not further defined.
Marijuana is a carcinogenic street drug; it is not medicine. Growing it or dispensing it violates federal law, regardless of what Massachusetts voters may approve. As has been the case in other states that have passed similar measures, the passage of Question 3 would lead to an increase in crime, particularly near dispensaries, an increase in the availability of the drug on the street and the diversion of marijuana to adolescents.
Anyone with questions for the Chief’s Column may submit them by mail to the Grafton Police Department, 28 Providence Road, Grafton, MA 01519. You may also email your questions or comments to email@example.com. Please include an appropriate subject line, as I do not open suspicious email for obvious reasons.
Normand A. Crepeau, Jr.
Chief of Police