Let Patients GrowBy Peter C. BernardHardship medical marijuana cultivators face new obstaclesJ48Cultivation for medical cannabis patientshas been, to date, somethingthat anyone with a medical cannabiscard has been able to do without a numericallydefined plant count. Undera hardship provision in the law, neverenforced by the Department of Publichealth, allows for a cardholder to cultivatemore than the 6/12 limit adult uselaws allow.The problem is, the DPH neverwrote any regulations around hardshipcultivation. Instead they issued a memostating that anyone with a card couldcultivate under hardship. This wasdone before Question 4 was anythingbut a dream. Law enforcement railedagainst it and continued to bust peoplecultivating under the law. I personallyknow some folks who were subjects inthese kinds of cases. Their grows were trashed. Their houses and lives were turned upside down. They got the opportunityto help some lawyers make Porsche payments.Then Question 4 came along and allowed even more people to grow weed. Walpole Chief John Carmichael musthave had a throw down scream out loud temper tantrum over that one. Question 4 made it worse for hardship cultivators.Law enforcement started using the adult use limits to trash medical grows, completely ignoring the still-in-effect DPHmemo. You see, people like our good friend Chief Carmichael would take away everyone’s home grow rights, no matterwhat the reason you’re growing. Got cancer? Tough luck. Got epilepsy? Too bad, so sad. Got chronic pain? Shut up andgo eat your opiates.The Cannabis Control Commission is looking at something that would effectively end hardship cultivation for medicalpatients. You probably haven’t seen it, because mostly only nerds like me actually read the regulations, but there’ssome interesting language in the newest set of cannabis regulations released this fall. There is a whole section on hardshipcultivation for patients, and it isn’t pretty. You start off with a $100 license fee, annually. Yes, I said license. You haveto submit a grow plan. You have to let someone from the Commonwealth inspect your grow space. You have to agree toinspections whenever the Commonwealth feels like making one (but hey, they give you notice so its all right). Oh and youget to let the police into your house any time they feel like maybe you’re selling weed.Did I mention that Chief Carmichael is on the Cannabis Advisory Board and helped develop the language? Ohyeah. There’s that.Hardship cultivation should be as simple as registering with the CCC. Considering financial reasons will ultimatelybe the only qualifier left, a license fee is stupid. For that matter, trying to regulate a home grow like a licensed cultivationfacility is stupid, too. These regulations seem to be designed to nullify medical hardship cultivation. In this way, prohibitionistscan destroy medical hardship via unreasonable and impractical regulations. It puts Chief Carmichael one step closerto his dream of eradicating all home grows.What can you do, you ask? You can let the CCC know how you feel about it. You can drop them a line end letthem know that they can’t regulate a home grow like it was a licensed commercial grow. Remind them that hardship cultivationisn’t a license type. Most of all, remind them that thousands of people rely on hardship cultivation for their medication.Remind them that the people voted, and the prohibitionists lost. Remind Chief Carmichael that he is a law enforcementofficer, not a legislator. Here is how you can reach the CCC. Tell them I said hello!www.mass-cannabis-control.com/contactPeter C. Bernard is a medical cannabis patient, the president of the Massachusetts Grower Advocacy Council, and acontributor to midnightmass.substack.com and The Young Jurks. You can listen to The Young Jurks on itunes or whereverelse podcasts are streamed. This article was produced with support from Midnight Mass and The Young Jurks, whereyour contributions are greatly appreciated and help us deliver more local coverage.
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