Massachusetts Legislature Sends Medical Marijuana Necessity Defense to Governor Weld
On November 10 Massachusetts Governor William Weld refused to sign legislation that would allow patients to use a medical necessity defense against marijuana possession charges.
H. 2170, also known as the Joe Hutchins bill, was sent back to the legislature for revision. Weld said he was concerned that the bill would lead to "inappropriate assertions of the defense," and he suggested changes to the legislation. In particular, he said that only people enrolled in certified medical marijuana research should be allowed to use the defense.
Supporters of the legislation responded that there is no medical marijuana research program operating in Massachusetts. Rep. Patricia D. Jehlen (D-Somerville), one of the sponsors of the bill, said she had come to an agreement with Weld's staff on the language of the bill and does not understand why he would have problems now.
The bill is currently awaiting another vote in the legislature to override Weld's failure to sign the bill.
[For more information, contact the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws at 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1010, Washington, DC 20036, 202-483-5500.]