Medical marijuana advocates’ growing impatience – Boston Globe
Matt Allen, the man behind the state’s medical marijuana law, is all done holding his tongue.
Almost two years after voters passed that ballot question, Allen notes, this state isn’t even close to having, in his felicitously turned phrase, “seeds in the ground.”
The law envisioned up to 35 nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries, with at least one in each county, ready to go — or grow — by the end of 2013. Almost nine months into 2014, after a process full of, um, potholes, 11 marijuana dispensaries have been provisionally certified, with half the counties uncovered. Even by the administration’s estimate, the first of those won’t make it through the final review and start operating until early next year.
Nor does the Patrick administration have up and running the online program to let police and dispensaries verify that patients are eligible to possess or grow medical marijuana. But when Allen, executive director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, has tried to inject a little urgency into the process, the message has always been the same: Be patient.
Although he voted twice for Patrick, his patience is now officially exhausted. Indeed, he’s come to think Patrick’s possible national ambitions figure into the delays.
“There is so much the administration could have done to move things forward,” he told me. “At this point, with the lack of movement, I think it is politics. The perception is that it would be more convenient for them to slow walk this until the governor gets out of office.”
Not so, asserts Health and Human Services spokesman Alec Loftus. “We want to take our time and get this right,” he says.
About the best one can say to that is that the administration is one for two.
The Department of Public Health and its contractors bungled the application process, resulting in …read more