Woburn Looks To Balance Marijuana, Safety

City officials hope to strike balance between medical marijuana dispensaries and community safety.


With the passage of Question 3 on Tuesday, cities and towns are left to set regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries.

Voters approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes, as prescribed by a doctor, by a 63 to 37 percent margin. With the approval comes the creation of marijuana dispensaries—"non-profit treatment centers that will grow, process and provide marijuana to patients or their caregivers," according to the Secretary of State.

There are already state regulations built into Question 3, which require the dispensaries to apply and pay for a Department of Public Health registration, as well as submit operating procedures, including the mandatory storage of marijuana in locked facilities.

Communities will also need to set local regulations for dispensaries.

Woburn Police Chief Robert Ferullo said city officials have already begun to look into the matter.

"We are exploring all of our options to ensure the safety and quality of life of all the residents and visitors to the city of Woburn," said the chief. "There are protections available to us, but there are also rights available to the dispensaries. We will strive to protect that balance."

Massachusetts is the 18th state to legalize medical marijuana. Dispensaries have popped up all over the United States, and there are websites dedicated to finding them, including: WeedMaps.com.

Colorado has marijuana dispensaries in place, which were overloaded with callers seeking pot for recreational use earlier this week, according to News5 KOAA.com.

Marijuana has been used to help with several medical conditions in the 17 other states where it was legal before Tuesday. According to Pain Management of America, "Some of the more common conditions and symptoms treated with medical marijuana include chronic pain, nausea, glaucoma, seizure disorders, cancer, diabetes [and] muscle spasms."

Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that an Oakland, CA dispensary generated nearly $1 million in tax revenue and sells approximately $20 million in pot annually.

This morning, we asked our readers what you think: Should there be medical marijuana dispensaries in Woburn?  Click the link to join in the discussion!

David Kimmelman November 09, 2012 at 08:41 PM
It's clear from reading many of the comments that people did not take the time to really research what is undoubtedly an emotional topic. To those who believe marijuana should be dispensed through a pharmacy and/or hospital; the hospital would be the worst place since thousands of people go through hospitals and the risk of theft is much more likely. By keeping it confined in one dispensary location and following all the legal protocols that have been established in 17 other states, we are more likely to ensure safe and accurate distribution. I actually don't understand what all the fuss is about. Seriously, does anyone think that "pot", even if completely legalized is any more dangerous than alcohol? And, at a time when our state and federal government is looking for more ways to add revenues, why not just legalize it and tax the hell out of it like cigarettes? I used to smoke cigarettes but quit almost 26 years ago, and I cannot even fathom paying $5-$8 for a pack of cigarettes today (I think those prices are correct). Anyway, opening up dispensary will have to follow business zoning laws, cannot be within a certain distance from schools and so on, and so on.


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