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With medical marijuana becoming state law Jan. 1, Colorado law firm Vicente Sederberg has opened a Boston office and is running seminars on how to set up a marijuana-based business or, if you have a debilitating health condition that could be helped by the drug, how to get it.
The first seminar is in Cambridge, from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, at Cambridge Community Center at 5 Callender St., near Western Avenue in the Riverside neighborhood.
The state law calls for up to 35 marijuana dispensaries (called “treatment centers”) statewide, with at least one in each county but no more than five. It was voted in Nov. 6 by 63 percent of voters statewide.
Not everyone seems eager to get a dispensary — or five. Quincy city councilor Brian Palmucci had an ordinance drafted seemingly as votes were being counted to ban treatment centers within 1,500 feet of a residential district, school, child care facility or business that serves alcohol, The Patriot Ledger reported. “This isn’t to say: You can’t come to Quincy,” Palmucci told the paper. “This is to say we want to set some community standards.” Boston lawmakers have also expressed concern about having dispensaries near schools or in residential areas.
But the Quincy vote actually lagged the state average, with a little less than 61 percent of people voting on the measure being in favor, while in Cambridge, a little over 73 percent of voters said they wanted medical marijuana. With three meetings remaining before the new year and the implementation of the law, the Cambridge council hasn’t brought the issue forward for debate.
“With 17 other medical marijuana states to learn from, Massachusetts medical marijuana businesses have the opportunity to be some of the most effective and responsible treatment centers in the country,” said Shaleen Title, the attorney running the Boston branch of Vicente Sederberg, in a press release. Some may remember her from a Vicente Sederberg backing the law:
The law will end state penalties for people using medical marijuana as a treatment for debilitating medical conditions including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
“Millions of Massachusetts residents will potentially be eligible,” Title said on massmedicalmarijuana.com, a site set up by her firm:
According to the Massachusetts Pain Initiative, approximately 24 percent of the Massachusetts general population experiences chronic pain, and according to Massachusetts General Hospital, an estimated 26 percent of American adults suffer from a diagnosable mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression, in a given year.
“In specific hardship cases, patients will be allowed to grow marijuana for their own use,” Title said.