Michael Malta, an activist who refers to himself as the "King of Pot," uses marijuana to treat his OCD and severe panic disorder. He says the Department of Public Health's rules are forcing him to use other means by which to seek cannabis for medicinal purposes.
"I waited 25 years to get this law in and they force me back into the black market? It's wrong, that's why we're here today," said Malta.
Medical marijuana was legalized in January following a voter approved ballot initiative. But in May, the state release new regulations that encouraged pot access through dispensaries. Valerio Romano, an attorney at VGR Law Firm, represents clients who are seeking dispensary licenses.
"It's not like, you know, they've had medical cannabis for decades and all of the sudden DPH is taking their medicine from them. There was a brief period where they could get medical cannabis from caregivers," said Romano. "Sometime in the next year when dispensaries finally open their doors the patients will now have greater more consistent access to medicine."
But pot activists say some patients just prefer accessing pot through caregivers.
"You have people that you trust that are going to give you a good deal because you're a patient and you know where it's grown, it's lower cost," said Mike Cann, a pot activist.
Cann says new regulations effectively prevent caregivers from selling pot because it's too expensive to grow the medicine for only one patient.
The DPH is currently creating the application process by which medical marijuana dispensaries can apply for a license to sell pot in Massachusetts.
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