In Walpole, where 55 percent of voters approved the question, Police Chief Richard B. Stillman said the law leaves many unanswered questions. For example, if legislation is passed that delays legal dispensaries from opening, is it OK for qualifying patients to buy marijuana from drug dealers?
“There are so many problems with this law,” said. “We were trying to let public know this is a bad law. It’s just a joke. It makes marijuana legal in Massachusetts with really no oversight. Supposedly DPH has oversight, but how much attention they’ll be able to pay to this is anybody’s guess.”
Stillman and other area officials said they are waiting to see what kind of specific regulations are issued by the Department of Public Health, since it is the state agency responsible for regulating medical marijuana, and determining what constitutes a “60-day supply” of marijuana, how much application and registration fees should cost, and other details.
The measure calls for the agency to issue those regulations within 120 days of when the law takes effect. Norwood Police Chief William G. Brooks said the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association has offered to work with the state to help hammer out some of those details. As a board member of the chiefs’ group, Brooks said, he hopes to be able to participate in the process.
Dr. Lauren Smith, interim commissioner for the Department of Public Health, has said the state will “work closely with health care and public safety officials to develop smart and balanced policies and procedures” in the coming months. “We will work carefully, learn from other states’ experiences, and put a system in place that is right for Massachusetts,” she said.
For now, communities are doing what they can to be ready when the new law takes effect.
Members of the Avon Coalition for Every Student have formed a committee to study the new law and determine how it will affect the town. They will examine what local policies the town can adopt, and look at the implications for schools, physicians, and landlords, coordinator Amanda Decker said.
Weymouth Mayor Susan M. Kay recently asked her department heads to quickly review the ballot measure and see what kind of zoning regulations could contain medical marijunana establishments.
“I hope [a medical marijuana dispensary] does not come to Weymouth,” she said. “We’re very concerned.”
Among those interested in opening a marijuana dispensary in the Bay State are Wanda James and her husband, Scott Durrah. They own a Denver-based company, Simply Pure, which creates edible marijuana products, and they’re looking to open a dispensary in Boston. James said an outlet outside the city is a possibility, too.
“Most of our patients tend to be women around 40 to 55, so the suburbs is a wonderful spot as well,” she said. “It’s important for us to be able to show it’s not for kids, it’s not about being stoned, it truly is bringing help to people who are suffering from nausea,’’ she said. “We see a lot of cancer patients; we see a lot of end-of-life patients.”
Durrah, a native of Weymouth, said he likes the idea of dispensaries near the region’s major hospitals.
“We see Boston as an incredible opportunity, and as another way to legitimize this industry further,” he said.
Lisa Kocian of the Globe staff and Globe correspondents Emily Files and Johanna Seltz contributed to this report. Emily Sweeney can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.