Massachusetts Businessman Calls for Government to End Confusion on Marijuana Laws

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On January 1, 2013 the use of medical marijuana became legal in Massachusetts. The problem, says a Boston businessman, is that the use of marijuana for any purpose is still illegal under federal law.

Medical Marijuana Laws Massachusetts

Medical Marijuana Laws

... confusion between the state and federal laws has created inhumane obstacles to their receiving relief from their debilitating conditions.

Joseph Dioguardi, CEO of The Holistic Center, Boston’s first medical marijuana evaluation facility, says the conflict between state and federal laws regarding the use of medical marijuana has created serious confusion and problems for patients seeking relief from the pain and discomfort of their chronic, debilitating medical conditions.

Mr. Dioguardi cites an article entitled “US Policy Clouds Approvals of Medical Marijuana” that appeared in The Boston Globe on October 9th. The article details the many ways that fear of running afoul of the federal law is keeping federally funded organizations in the state from participating in the process that would allow patients to receive medical marijuana.

In the article, reporter Kay Lazar writes that “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 federal funding.”

Ms. Lazar writes that the centers also fear “loss of malpractice insurance,” and that “should a community health center physician be convicted under federal law for certifying a patient, the physician could be shut out of Medicare and Medicaid programs.”

Kay Lazar also points out that “This disconnect between state and federal marijuana law” is restricting “tenants who use medical marijuana from living in federally subsidized housing,” and preventing “Veterans Administration hospitals and clinics from authorizing medical marijuana.”

Dioguardi says, “for patients within the federal system, who could benefit most from medical marijuana, the conflict and confusion between the state and federal laws has created inhumane obstacles to their receiving relief from their debilitating conditions.”

Research has shown that for numerous patients, medical marijuana is the only alternative they have for dealing with the unbearable pain and other symptoms of their disorders, without the frequently intolerable side effects and addiction difficulties of many man-made medications.

Dioguardi said that unlike the groups discussed in the Globe article, and many insurance companies, The Holistic Center is completely independent and does not receive any federal funding, so they provide medical marijuana evaluations for everyone who needs them.

The doctors at The Holistic Center are board-certified, trained in pain management and steadfast in their belief that marijuana is serious medicine. Their evaluations are simple and non-invasive. They review a patient’s up-to-date medical records and latest information and then do a question and answer session with the patient. Patients who qualify receive a medical marijuana certificate at the conclusion of the evaluation.

Until the Department of Public Health begins issuing medical marijuana registration cards, a certificate from The Holistic Center allows a patient to legally possess up to 10 ounces of medical marijuana and is a limited cultivation registration that allows a patient to cultivate and grow his medicine.

Mr. Dioguardi is calling for a combined directive from the appropriate state and federal officials that avoids vague language and clearly spells out to federally funded institutions the vital need and legal basis for cooperating with the Massachusetts medical marijuana program.

Massachusetts residents who want to take advantage of a holistic approach to relieving the chronic pain and other symptoms of their illnesses with medical cannabis can get more information and make an appointment for a medical marijuana evaluation by contacting The Holistic Center, 1505 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 315, Brighton. 800-557-5699.

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Richard Comenzo
since: 08/2013
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The Holistic Center, MA
since: 03/2013
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