Medical marijuana to appear on Massachusetts Nov 6 ballot.
BOSTON – A judge on the state’s highest court has approved new language for a proposed ballot question on medical marijuana to make clear that the plant would be produced and distributed in Massachusetts.
Advocates for medical marijuana and two other planned ballot questions on Monday submitted a final round of voter signatures to Secretary of State William F. Galvin. The questions appear set to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot.
In a decision released on Monday, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Robert J. Cordy, acting on an appeal by opponents, approved new language for people who vote “yes” to approve medical marijuana.
The new “yes” statement reads, “A yes vote would enact the proposed law eliminating state criminal and civil penalties related to the medical use of marijuana, allowing patients meeting certain conditions to obtain marijuana produced and distributed by new state-regulated centers, or, in specific hardship cases, to grow marijuana for their own use.”
Heidi Heilman, president of the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance and lead plaintiff in the case, said many people are not aware that approval of the question would create up to 35 dispensaries in the state in the first year of legalization including at least one in each county.
Jennifer Manley, a spokeswoman for the Committee for Compassionate Medicine, which is sponsoring the medical-marijuana ballot question, said the committee agreed with the attorney general’s re-write of the “yes” statement. She said the committee was mainly concerned that the statement show the distribution centers would be regulated by the state.
Manley said the committee is confident it submitted enough voter signatures to qualify for the ballot, but she could not say how many signatures were provided to Galvin’s office. She said the committee is also confident that medical marijuana will be approved by voters.
Petitioners needed to file an additional 11,485 certified signatures to Galvin’s office by tomorrow’s deadline. A spokesman for Galvin said the office needs to count the signatures, which were already certified by local election officials.
Kinsman said his group would prefer to have a bill approved by the state Legislature, but at this point, is gearing up for a campaign for the ballot question. The state Senate has approved a “right to repair” bill and a version could still be approved by the state House of Representatives.
Under the “death with dignity” question, terminally-ill patients would be allowed to ask for life-ending medications from a doctor. The proposed law would be similar to laws that exist in Oregon and Washington.
Great news for the medical marijuana movement, the issue should bring out lots of young human voters 😉