Patients seeking access to marijuana said Monday that they are so frustrated dispensaries have yet to open, nearly two years after Massachusetts voters legalized medical use of the drug, that they are considering suing the administration of Governor Deval Patrick.

“The process has been subsumed by politics, instead of patients,” Matthew Allen, executive director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, said at a State House press conference.

Allen said his group is examining the prospects of bringing legal action to speed the licensing process, because the “state has failed on multiple fronts.”

The Department of Public Health approved 20 applicants for provisional licenses in January, but has since eliminated nine of them as news reports surfaced about questionable finances of some or about misleading information provided by others. Regulators say they hope a few dispensaries may open by winter.

That is not nearly enough to handle the demand, patients said at the press conference.

“We are here today because we are done being patient,” said Lisa Cole, a Leicester mother whose daughter — Maddie, who is almost 6 — suffers dozens of seizures a day.

Cole said the seizures, which started nearly five years ago, have exacted a terrible toll: Her daughter’s development has been so significantly arrested that she does not speak and has trouble walking without falling. It is agonizing, Cole said, to hear of children with seizures who have been helped by marijuana in other states that have legal dispensaries.

As the wait continues for dispensaries to open, Massachusetts law allows patients whose physicians have certified that their medical condition warrants marijuana use to grow a small number of plants for their own use.

But patients said the health department has failed to launch a long-promised patient and caregiver registration system, exposing patients to arrest because law enforcement cannot verify doctors’ permission …read more