Ongoing Snags In Consequences Of Massachusetts Pot Laws 'Kinda Wild'

Mar 15, 2019

In our look at news of the week, a medical marijuana patient told Massachusetts cannabis regulators in Springfield that she had surgery canceled at the last minute due to concerns about interactions between marijuana and anaesthesia. 

It was part of a listening tour for state regulators, inviting the public to talk about changes they'd like to see to the current cannabis rules. Panelist Kristin Palpini said it's an eye-opener to learn medical marijuana users are being turned away.

"I think it's kinda wild that we're still talking about this — that people are suffering this way," she said.

Panelist Chris Collins said it's a reflection of unintended consequences when a law — like medical marijuana in Massachusetts — is passed by a ballot measure rather than initiated by lawmakers.

"The thing that bothers me about this story is: one would think a licensed anaesthesiologist would understand the potential impact, or clash, between medical cannabis and anaesthesia. And that is upsetting on its face, too," he said.

Also this week, we heard about the relatively slow rollout of gambling addiction services in Springfield, more than six months after MGM Springfield opened. The Springfield public health department still has not hired someone, for instance, to deal with problem gambling, despite saying such a hire was "imminent" when the casino opened in August. 

In Sheffield, Massachusetts, in southern Berkshire County, the mother of a man who says he was sexually abused at a town school decades ago went to great lengths to try and find other victims: She put up a message on a billboard in town. That was after she wasn't able to convince law enforcement to look into the allegations. The town's police chief says any information as a result of the billboard could reopen the case. 

And a top Connecticut lawmaker said this week he's going to push for a vote on getting rid of the religious exemption to the state's vaccine law. That would mean, if changed, unvaccinated students wouldn't be able to attend public schools at all. 

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Disclosure: MGM has purchased underwriting from New England Public Radio publicizing the company's non-gambling activities. The NEPR newsroom operates independently of the station's development department, and editorial decisions are made without regard to any funding relationships.