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October 14, 2012

Highlights of Question 3

To qualify, a patient must have been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition, such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV-positive status or AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, or multiple sclerosis.

The patient would also have to obtain a written certification, from a physician with whom the patient has a bona fide physician-patient relationship, that the patient has a specific debilitating medical condition.

Patients would be allowed to possess up to a 60-day supply of marijuana for their personal medical use. The state Department of Public Health (DPH) would decide what amount would be a 60-day supply.

Patients or caregivers can grow only enough plants, in a closed, locked facility, for a 60-day supply of marijuana for the patient’s own use.

Nonprofit medical marijuana treatment centers would be allowed to grow, process and provide marijuana to patients or their caregivers. A treatment center would have to apply for a DPH registration, pay a fee to offset DPH’s administrative costs, identify its location and one additional location, if any, where marijuana would be grown; and submit operating procedures, consistent with rules to be issued by DPH, including cultivation and storage of marijuana only in enclosed, locked facilities.

A treatment center’s personnel would have to register with DPH before working or volunteering at the center, be at least 21 years old, and have no felony drug convictions.

In 2013, there could be no more than 35 treatment centers, with at least one but not more than five centers in each county. In later years, DPH could modify the number of centers.

Fraudulent use of a DPH registration could be punished by up to six months in a house of correction or a fine of up to $500, and fraudulent use of a registration for the sale, distribution, or trafficking of marijuana for non-medical use for profit could be punished by up to five years in state prison or by 2-1/2 years in a house of correction.

The proposed law would not give immunity under federal law or obstruct federal enforcement of federal law and would not supersede Massachusetts laws prohibiting possession, cultivation, or sale of marijuana for non-medical purposes.

The proposed law would take effect Jan. 1, 2013, and states that if any of its part were declared invalid, the other parts would stay in effect.

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