20 Aug 2014
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Town Manager Says Medical Marijuana Firm Jumping the Gun

A medical practice that now says it will open in January in Framingham may have to wait months before it can write its first recommendation for medical marijuana.

A medical marijuana company that now plans to open early in 2013 will likely have to wait months longer before it can write any recommendations for medical marijuana, under the state's new law, Town Manager Bob Halpin said Tuesday night at the Framingham Selectmen's meeting. 

As first reported by Framingham Patch last week, CannaMed of Boston has made plans to open a Framingham office at 945 Concord St., where doctors will meet with patients and review medical records to see if they qualify to receive medical marijuana recommendations.

CannaMed has originally said it would be open for business before the end of 2012, telling a Patch reporter that appointments were being scheduled as early as Dec. 15. But the company on Monday said it would . 

But while the practice may be able to open its doors, it may be well into the new year before any recommendations can be written or filled, Halpin told Selectmen Tuesday.

The law set a deadline of April 1 for regulations to be promulgated by the Department of Public Health. The Massachusetts Municipal Association is supporting a move to push that date back to July 1 to give more time for community concerns to be considered.  

The law allows patients with a host of conditions and illnesses to receive prescriptions and medical marijuana cards to enable them to possess up to a 60-day supply of marijuana. The law also allows for the licensing of dispensaries across the state, which has created concern in many communities about their location and regulation. 

Noting "media attention" about the first wave of marijuana-related companies, Halpin said CannaMed "created the indication that they are open for business."

"Until those regulations are put in place, there are no prescriptions and there certainly are no facilities to fill them,"  he added. 

A local working group that includes the chief of police, the Board of Health and the Planning Board has begun to meet on the topic and should have a report on possible local regulations for marijuana dispensaries by sometime in January. 

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