By the end of this year the Cannabis Control Commission will be taking over the task of overseeing the medical marijuana program from the states Department of Public Health. Before this happens though the state has opened a public comment period to gather feedback on the design of the regulations surrounding the program. This is a very important time as this is a chance to correct some of the legislation that has hindered the program up until now. That being said, what are some suggestions for public comment you might ask?
First off the biggest barrier to entry for most patients is money. Now that the CCC will be in control of the program they should theoretically be bolstered with tax money to run the program. Currently there is a 50 dollar fee to the Department of Public Health. This fee should be removed from the legislation in order to drive the cost of becoming a patient down.
Another problem with the program is the difficulty of registering and navigating the website in order to receive confirmation of participation in the program. It can be a daunting task for someone who is not computer savvy. Streamlining this process by having an instant signup at the doctor's office will significantly ease the burden that current medical patients face.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is home to a huge influx of medical tourism, meaning people from all over the world come to the state to have procedures done at the many amazing medical facilities the state. I would propose that doctors be allowed to certify patients for 1,2, or 3 month temporary certifications to people from out of state. I believe this may allow doctors to feel more secure about suggesting cannabis as an alternative therapy to medications such as opiates.
Of major concern is the current regulations for pediatric care. Currently under the DPH guidelines it takes two pediatric physicians to certify a patient, Because there are so few doctors that do certify in the commonwealth this has caused and continues to cause barriers for patients that are out of time. that being said if a family is considering cannabis to treat their sick child I can assure you it is probably a life or death situation or a major health and quality of life decision.
The open public comment period runs until October 29th. Electronic comment can be sent to CannabisCommission@mass.gov, so get those comments in and be the change you wish to see.