(NECN: Jennifer Eagan, Boston) - Months after Massachusetts voters approved medical marijuana, the Department of Public Health issued their proposed rules.
Their draft regulations further define a law which is already in place. The ballot measure that became law lists conditions like cancer, glaucoma and HIV as qualifying illnesses, but also allows a doctor to write a recommendation for medical marijuana for any condition they determine to be debilitating. DPH kept this as a guideline.
"It’s not about a particular list of conditions, but more how significantly or severely a patient is affected by it," said DPH interim commissioner Dr. Lauren Smith.
Any organization hoping to run a medical marijuana dispensary would have to be a non-profit and have $500,000 in an escrow account. Mike Fitzgerald teaches people how to grow their own marijuana at The Grassroots Institute in Quincy. He hopes to be granted one of 35 licenses to operate a dispensary in Massachusetts.
"I feel we can do this better than any other state in the country and we are ready to lead the way," Fitzgerald said Friday.
Fitzgerald was surprised by the DPH’s definition of a 60 day supply. They plan on limiting it to 10 ounces, which Fitzgerald says translates into 300 joints or the equivalent of five joints a day. DPH would not speak in specifics.
"I think it is important to point out that is a maximum," said Dr. Smith. "Clinicians don’t have to recommend that much. They are totally open and it is up to them if they want to recommend less than that."
However, the proposed rules suggest physicians can recommend more than 10 ounces if they see fit.
DPH plans to hold public hearings to get feedback on their draft regulations in April and come out with finalized rules in May.