Medical Marijuana Laws Passed in Massachusetts
But Individual Local Zoning Restrictions Could Limit “Pot Shops”
April 2, 2013
In November 2012, Massachusetts voters made the state the seventeenth to legalize medical marijuana for patients with cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, AIDS, and other conditions determined by a doctor. However, many communities are concerned about medical dispensaries, or, “pot shops,” conducting business within their city limits, and are working to change local zoning regulations banning or restricting marijuana dispensaries within their towns. The law does not legalize “pot” smoking, but eliminates civil and criminal penalties for the use of marijuana by patients when the drug has been prescribed by a doctor.
According to Time Health & Family, “THC,” the chemical in marijuana that produces a “high” is “….a mild hallucinogen that also has sedative properties. Cannabis intoxication does impair memory and cognition, and marijuana addiction, as with any drug, can lead to serious impairments in judgment and result in harm. But experts agree that marijuana addiction tends to be less severe than cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine or alcohol addiction.”
A Canadian study published in 2012 in the British Medical Journal, reported on the correlation between marijuana use and motor vehicle accidents. The study concluded that drivers who drove within three hours of smoking marijuana almost doubled their risk of being in a serious or fatal accident.
The federal government does not recognize the medical use of marijuana and considers the drug an illegal substance, and the possession, sale or distribution of marijuana remains a federal crime.