BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts residents have approved a new law legalizing medical marijuana, with many local cities and towns passing the measure by a 2-to-1 margin.
The law eliminates state criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marijuana by people with cancer, hepatitis C, Parkinson's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis and other conditions. Supporters say marijuana eases the suffering of people with debilitating diseases. Opponents say the law is ripe for abuse and fraud. They fear there's no effective way to regulate marijuana dispensaries to make sure only sick patients get the drug. And they say they saw Tuesday's ballot question as the next step toward full legalization of marijuana.
In Newburyport, more than 70 percent of voters approved the measure, while in Amesbury the vote was more than 60 percent in favor.
In 2008, Massachusetts decriminalized possession of marijuana in amounts under 1 ounce.