Medical Practitioners Call for Change to Massachusetts Marijuana Regulations

June 10, 2019 | Mark J. Wagner Jr. | Cannabis | Hospitals | Legislation and Public Policy

More than 40 physicians, clinicians and researchers from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and other institutions issued a 16-page Statement of Concern to Massachusetts lawmakers requesting that the Commonwealth’s Cannabis Control Commission suspend processing new business licenses and conduct a public health assessment of its “Social Equity Program.” These practitioners are criticizing the inadequacy of current regulations in protecting the public health from the high-THC marijuana products now being sold at licensed marijuana retail stores in Massachusetts.

The Statement asserts that based on scientific evidence, the use of high-THC products increases the risk of serious mental health problems, including acute psychosis, paranoia, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety, and compares the growing marijuana industry to the tobacco industry. The Statement requests that Massachusetts’ marijuana market be regulated using a “public health framework” prioritizing population-level health over commercial market interests by allowing the sale of marijuana only in government-run stores, having public health officials regulate retail cannabis, and prohibiting the sale of flavored products that appeal to youths. The Statement is one of the most prominent public messages from medical practitioners since marijuana stores in Massachusetts opened for business in November.

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