Image by Kent Buckley
The first week of August is going to be busy for Boston’s marijuana reform community.
On the morning of Tuesday, August 4, Hub medical dispensary applicant Patriot Care goes before the Boston Zoning Board of Appeal for a hearing about their planned Milk Street operation. During a recent webcast of my online radio show, “The Young Jurks,” Dennis Kunian of Patriot Care reported that Mayor Marty Walsh actually requested a deferral at the previous hearing so that he might help broker a deal between the dispensary and anti-marijuana NIMBYs with the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District (BID).
“We’re following the mayor’s advice, meeting with the BID later this week to offer them office space and support,” Kunian said. “We’re pleased that the mayor is involved in the process. I also want to thank you Mike, I’m not sure you know how many people read DigBoston and listen to this program, but we [Patriot Care] know your reporting, it’s made a difference. Our community has made it happen, the phone calls, the emails have been tremendous, as well as the amount of people that came out in support at the first two hearings. We hope to get the word out again for August 4 … it will be the third, and I promise the final zoning hearing—I promise you that we need everybody to come out again to City Hall on the fourth. We’re still expecting some of the same opposition.”
After that, on Wednesday, August 5, the campaigns of the Marijuana Policy Project and Bay State Repeal will score headlines with their dueling marijuana legalization initiatives, which are due to be officially submitted that day to the office of the Commonwealth Attorney General. As these things go, that will also be the day that most advocates finally get to read the proposed MPP wording. From there, if both initiatives land on the ballot, and then are passed by a majority of voters, the law bends toward that which gathered the most votes. Naturally, if both initiatives go to voters, most supporters of the green will simply vote for the pair.
As if that’s not enough, on Thursday, August 6, a solemn procession of medical marijuana activists will gather in support of H.2065, “An Act to protect patients approved by physicians and certified by the Department of Public Health to access medical marijuana.” Billed as “a funeral for medical marijuana patients who have died waiting for safe access,” the demonstration will involve advocates and family members of passed patients marching from Boston Common to Beacon Hill. Organizers with the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance (MPAA) encourage attendees to dress in black.
MPAA’s bill would ensure the availability of caregiver services, as well as employment, child custody, and other legal protections to medical marijuana patients. At a recent State House hearing for the bill, local network sports legend Bob Lobel testified with medical marijuana moms Lisa Cole and Jill Hitchman-Osborn, as well as many other advocates, while no one testified in opposition. If there’s anyone out there with more input, and the more input the better, MPAA encourages concerned parties to contact their elected officials, and to urge them to support the measure.