It's a referendum as divisive as any on the November 6 ballot, and the question now, with less than a week until Election Day, is will voters legalize medical marijuana in the Bay State?
Peabody's Board of Health hopes not.
Health officials in Peabody released a statement on Thursday taking an official stance against the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative, also known as Question 3.
"The Board of Health believes that 'medicine' is a term for those products and materials determined, through rigorous evaluation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to be safe and effective when prescribed and distributed in proper dosages for the individual patient," the statement reads. "Marijuana has not undergone such evaluation."
In their statement, health officials say they support further research on medical marijuana, and the "development of medication derived from marijuana."
The opposition to the ballot question hinges partly on the act of smoking as a way to ingest medical marijuana.
"There is a large body of scientific research demonstrating that smoking may cause cancer, respiratory disease, cardiac disease, and other health problems," the statement says. "Individuals have access to FDA-approved medication containing the active ingredient in marijuana that does not require the user to smoke."
The Board of Health worries that passing Question 3 will create a public health problem by "promoting smoking and by expanding access to marijuana to youth and to adults with substance abuse histories. "
The full statement can be found here.
Ryan Mooney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mooney_ryan.