Doctors at Massachusetts community health centers have been advised not to authorize any of their more than 638,000 patients to obtain marijuana for medical purposes because the centers fear they would lose their federal funding.
The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers has advised its 36 federally funded facilities to hold off on issuing patient marijuana certifications under the state’s new medical marijuana law, because use remains illegal under federal law.
Health center physicians who believe marijuana might be beneficial for certain patients and authorize its use could be committing a “potential violation of federal law and could result in legal and financial exposure for community health centers,” according to a statement from the League.
This disconnect between state and federal marijuana law is cropping up in other areas as well; some rules restrict tenants who use medical marijuana from living in federally subsidized housing, or prevent Veterans Administration hospitals and clinics from authorizing medical marijuana.
Voters approved a ballot initiative in No. . . . . READ MORE
The legalization of medical marijuana is prompting cities and towns across the region to consider zoning restrictions to limit where dispensaries may open. With state regulations in effect as of Friday, and the dispensary application process scheduled by the state for this summer and fall, many communities are feeling time is short to regulate what some see as an unwelcome neighbor.
Milford passed zoning restrictions last week; Framingham and Natick are looking at working together on zoning that could allow dispensaries on Route 9 in the neighboring towns; and Newton, amid several inquiries from prospective dispensary operators, is reviewing its zoning bylaw to see whether it is adequate for dealing with the new state law.
“What we’re doing is actually taking some time to internally review the regulations, since they still just came out, and we have not made any specific plans to alter the usual zoning requirements for new businesses, but we are looking into it,” said Dori Zaleznik, Newton’s commissioner of health and human services.
Massachusetts voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana via statewide ballot in November. The measu. . . . . READ MORE