Cannabis and Cancer Forum and more...

I was pleased by the positive feedback from the forum, Cannabis and Cancer and was encouraged that patients were open about their use and benefits of medical marijuana.

Shortly after the forum Dr. Terry Kriedman, an island physician, announced that she had completed the process to begin authorizing patients for the use of Medical Marijuana. Then a few weeks ago there was another forum which introduced an additional authorizing source for the island.

Regarding the Priority procedure for Adult Use licensing. And I prefer to use the term Adult Use rather than Recreational, Adult Use carries with it a degree of personal responsibility.

In September, 2016 Patient Centric received its Provisional license from the Department of Public Health (DPH) to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana. This is known as an RMD (Registered Marijuana Dispensary).

The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), the State entity charged with implementing and administering Adult Use licensing, established a window for a priority procedure for those who are currently operating an RMD or those, like Patient Centric, received a Provisional license. I decided it was a prudent business decision to apply.

On April 3, Patient Centric completed the application for Priority Certification for Adult Use licensing and priority certification was granted. Both these licensed operations will ensure regulated, tested product, increased employment opportunities and in the case of adult use, tax revenue to both the Commonwealth and the towns.

I started this effort to bring medical marijuana to patients of Martha’s Vineyard in December 2012, almost 5 ½ years ago, long before any deliberations concerning Adult Use legislation. Now we are a tenant in a building under construction in West Tisbury and expect to be serving them early next year.

Serving patients at the outset and into the future is my highest priority. Those who have agreed to fund medical marijuana are local residents or have ties to the Vineyard. They are committed to seeing that it is made available to patients on the Vineyard.

As a parent of a daughter who copes with mental health issues, I was aware of success stories as to how medical marijuana treated specific mental health disorders, particularly PTSD. This helped me realize that there is a need for this service, and it is a viable business. During the licensing process, I gained a comprehensive knowledge of the many benefits of medical marijuana, which led to my becoming a registered Caregiver to a patient. I have seen first-hand the positive effects of medical marijuana.

I am acutely aware of the opioid crisis that is affecting the country and even more so in our community. CNN is airing a special this Sunday at 8 pm. It’s hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, their Chief Medical Correspondent and is a result of his 5-year investigation.

He reports that researchers from the Rand Corporation, a 60 year old nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analysis, supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, conducted "the most detailed examination of medical marijuana and opioid deaths to date" and found something few initially expected. The analysis showed an approximately 20% decline in opioid overdose deaths between 1999 and 2010 in states with legalized medical marijuana and functioning dispensaries.

Medical and Adult Use operations need to be undertaken by mature, ethically responsible individuals who have a knowledge of the industry and an understanding and commitment to the community. As part of that commitment, I am developing an Advisory Board that will consist of individuals from the disciplines of Medicine, Law Enforcement, Drug Awareness/Prevention, Law, Education, Commerce, Hospital and Patient Advocacy. These highly qualified individuals will provide guidance for both Medical and Adult Use. It is a model, following Adult Use legalization in Colorado, based on one developed effectively in Pitkin County (Aspen) and initiated by their County Sheriff.

The recreational application process will be comprehensive and lengthy, likely at least 2 years. Before applying, the CCC will require Community Outreach meetings in the towns where locations are proposed. It will follow an extensive application process, and then, is subject to satisfying local review, bylaws, and regulations.