Officials: Municipalities Should Have Power to Ban Smoking Medical Marijuana in Public

State Rep. Cleon Turner says the legislature should have had control of the rules in regards to the passage of the pot laws.

By | Boston Daily |
Marijuana photo via shutterstock.com

Marijuana photo via shutterstock.com

State Representative Cleon Turner’s idea is “simple and straightforward.”

“I want to provide municipalities, landlords, property owners, and business owners the opportunity to prohibit smoking marijuana—whether for medical purposes or otherwise—on their property,” says the Democrat who represents the Cape Cod town of Dennis.

In the language of four separate bills filed by Turner, which will go before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary on June 19, various entities, depending on the legislation, would have the power to keep people who use marijuana for medicinal purposes from lighting up the drug in designated areas, much like cigarette smoking bans on certain properties. “It’s a no brainer,” said Turner. “If you can prohibit the smoking of cigarettes—which we have passed because of the second hand smoke issues—wouldn’t that be the same for marijuana? It’s affecting other people.”

Turner’s proposals will go before legislators during a committee meeting on Beacon Hill, a little over one month after the official rules for opening a dispensary for the sale and distribution of medical marijuana were approved by the state’s Public Health Council.

Currently, the Department of Public Health, the agency tasked with overseeing the medical marijuana law passed last November, is building the necessary infrastructure to implement the provisions, including the development of an online registration process for patients and caregivers. The department will issue registration cards to patients once it completes that program.

But as the DPH works out the kinks in the distribution and registration process, Turner wants to make adjustments to where people will be allowed to smoke the drug.

Turner has received support from small property owners and landlords, who claim allowing the drug to be smoked indoors puts them at risk with federal officials, and also has the potential to damage rentals.

Skip Schloming, executive director of the state’s Small Property Owners Association, said the way the law was drafted creates a dilemma for landlords like him. “When smoking and growing marijuana, it involves a lot of moisture and lights, and could be a disaster for the apartment. There is also a chance for it to create mold on the walls,” he said, something that could become costly to fix.

Like Turner, Schloming said if cigarette smoking can be prohibited in apartments for rent, renters should be able to ban medical marijuana use as well. But because patients who use medical marijuana are considered to have a “disability,” he said, landlords can’t ask about their use because of anti-discrimination laws.  “Allowing us to be able to refuse an application, it lets us make that decision ourselves and protects [landlords’ properties].”

Under one of Turner’s proposals, however, if passed, Schloming’s apartments, and those of other small property owners, would be in the clear and allowed to prohibit the use indoors. “This is perfectly logical, and not a breach of the purpose [of medical marijuana] passed by voters,” said Turner, adding that the rules and regulations for the drug’s use should have been placed in the hands of the legislature, and not voted through by the general public.

But DPH officials said last month there was nothing wrong with the regulations they put together for the public. “DPH has carefully considered hundreds of opinions and concerns from across the Commonwealth to create a medical marijuana system that is right for Massachusetts,” said DPH Interim Commissioner Dr. Lauren Smith. “The final regulations reflect a balanced approach that will provide appropriate access to patients, while maintaining a secure system that keeps our communities safe.”

  • Wilwon

    When did cigarettes become medicine?

    • kevin_hunt

      Tobacco cigarettes never were medicine. Cannabis has been used for medical purposes for 5,000 years.

  • Dave Bostwick

    cool idea,,, lets allow them to ban people with oxygen as well,, You know, fire hazards,, and then we can just not make them have their businesses be handicapped accessible,, you know,, the insurance liability’s. And what about gay couples,, we don’t want them “gaying” up the place.

    Oh, and if you don’t believe in the same religion, your out because my god will be offended.

  • Dave Bostwick
  • http://palmspringsbum.org/blog palmspringsbum

    “Under one of Turner’s proposals, however, if passed, Schloming’s apartments, and those of other small property owners, would be in the clear and allowed to prohibit the use indoors. “This is perfectly logical, and not a breach of the purpose [of medical marijuana] passed by voters,” said Turner, adding that the rules and regulations for the drug’s use should have been placed in the hands of the legislature, and not voted through by the general public.”
    —–
    So, the sick and disabled will have to go out in the rain and snow to use their medicine?

    Brilliant.

    Oh, wait – they can’t smoke in their home and they can’t smoke in public – so what does that leave?

  • Dave Bostwick

    Does Marijuana Make You Stupid?

    Much is made of marijuana use and intelligence. A typical stereotype
    of a cannabis user is that they are stupid, their minds numbed by the
    evil weed.

    There was even a recent study purporting to show a link between marijuana use and poor academic performance. Amanda Reiman of the Drug Policy Alliance took on this study in an op-ed for The Weed Blog.

    She points out the myriad of successful marijuana users, but
    opponents of legalization will always say these are the exception to the
    rule.

    Next she points out something much more damning in the study,
    something the article linked above leaves out: alcohol use is much more
    prevalent among college students than marijuana use. In fact, 95% of
    fourth-year college students reported having tried alcohol, as opposed to 63% for marijuana. So how can poor grades be attributed to marijuana use before alcohol use?

    “In the actual report, the conclusions are more nuanced than those in USA Today,” Reiman writes. ”The authors of the study conclude that it is “excessive” drinking and substance use that put kids at risk for poor academic performance. The authors report that these issues often begin in high school and could be related to mental health issues.

    “The real take home messages from this study? First, adolescents who are drinking and/or using substances (including prescription drugs) excessively while in high school should be paid attention. They could be self-medicating for an undiagnosed mental health issue, or having a tough time socially or academically.”

    Reiman then spells out reasons marijuana users could be having trouble finding employment, something alluded to in the USA Today
    article. “Furthermore, outcomes such as discontinued college education and the inability to find a job after college could very well have more to do with the illicit nature of marijuana and the collateral sanctions associated with its use, then the impact of the psychoactive properties of marijuana.

    “Requirements regarding the disclosure of a felony conviction to
    obtain employment are another barrier that has little to do with the
    psychoactive effects of marijuana.”

    It’s easy to see why the mainstream media is so eager to peddle
    stereotypes, whether they be about cannabis users or an ethnicity.
    Stereotypes are simple and familiar and something most people can relate to. But the truth is usually much deeper than that, and it takes some effort to find.

    Yet the job of the media is to expose truth. They often fail in this
    goal, which is why the internet is so important. Information will get
    out to the public. You can spin it any way you want, but it is still
    there, staring you in the face. No one can hide from the truth forever.

    The bottom line is that marijuana use does not make you stupid. You either are stupid, or you are not.

    - Joe Klare

    http://www.drugpossessionlaws.com/does-marijuana-make-you-stupid/

  • Miles Monroe

    We can only hope Rep. Turner, or one of his loved ones, will someday suffer one of the devastating afflictions for which the best or only relief comes from cannabis.

    Then maybe he’ll fully grasp what an asinine sod he was.

  • ac24221

    It used to be legal to ban individuals based on skin color or religion.
    Bigotry is still bigotry, when decisions are made on prejudice not facts
    all parties suffer. If Turner wishes to make a real difference ban
    alcohol and certain pharmaceuticals, which are legal but much more
    dangerous.

  • doobybro

    this turner guy has nothing better to d but look for ways to persecute people who arent hurtin anyone .sihtty to be him