Staff Members Maureen Vacca and Andrew Beckwith were among the first to testify at the State House this morning on the proposed ‘medical marijuana’ bill, HB 3885. Andrew pointed out that the draft legislation allows for marijuana to be prescribed for any ailment imaginable and that it would be sold by untrained ‘dispensary agents’, not through licensed pharmacies. Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Health, Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, seemed to take note of Andrew’s third point, that legalizing ‘medical’ marijuana would cause state workers to run afoul of federal drug laws, and Sanchez grilled one of the bill’s drafters during subsequent testimony. Andrew’s testimony and memorandum from the Department of Justice on this issue can be found here.
Maureen made the case that the legislation would increase access to marijuana by children and teenagers, whose minds and bodies are particularly susceptible to permanent effects of marijuana use. These concerns were documented in her submission to the committee through a statement from Dr. John Knight, a pediatrician at the Boston Children’s Hospital Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research. Her testimony and Dr. Knight’s statement can be accessed here.
Many of you asked if we would follow up on last week’s email about the drag show for teenagers in Newburyport. After pushback from parents and concerned citizens, the city assured the public that it would not be a drag show, but