Question 3

Charlestown residents will be casting a vote on Election Day on Question 3 – by voting yes or no on a proposed law that will eliminate state criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marijuana by qualifying patients.

Only those who are sick with a variety of debilitating and painful medical issues such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV or AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s, ALS and Multiple Sclerosis would be eligible to receive marijuana from medical treatment centers that would provide it.

The State Department of Health would allow patients who qualify to have a 60- day supply for their personal medical use. Caregivers 21 or over that are designated by the person using the medical marijuana could administer it but cannot use it. Both patients and caregivers would have to register with the DPH and would be required to provide as well a physician’s certification.

The law would require and allow medical marijuana treatment centers to grow, process and to provide marijuana.

If passed, the law goes into effect in 2013. Only 35 cultivation and growing centers will be sanctioned with no more than 5 centers and no less than one in each county statewide.

The arguments for the question to pass are simple – a Yes vote will stop a lot of suffering from those who are extremely ill and need the clinical use of marijuana to relieve pain, nausea, seizures and a wide variety of ailments that inhibit a human being from getting on with their lives from day to day and for some, from hour to hour.

The strict regulation by the DPH is expected to limit fraud and inappropriate use. Marijuana, supporters say, will decrease the need for highly addictive narcotics like morphine and OxyContin.

A NO vote will stop the easy access to marijuana, will stop others from feeling they have a license to grow marijuana and despite all the restrictions placed on its illegal use, it is inevitable that illegal use of marijuana will grow.

Also, those against the measure view 35 medical marijuana outlets – pot shops – as simply not necessary. In addition, opponents say medical marijuana would require tighter restrictions and  physician oversight.

Question 3 is important to Charlestown residents because of two competing reasons.

There are many here suffering from serious diseases that might be aided by the availability of medical marijuana.

On the other hand, this neighborhood has suffered from substance abuse for decades. Making drugs legal will not shrink the epidemic that has robbed so many families of their loved to drugs over the years.

Make sure you vote on Question 3.

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