Berkshire County residents debate medical marijuana law

Posted at: 11/07/2012 5:58 PM
Updated at: 11/07/2012 6:03 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

PITTSFIELD - "I definitely voted yes, and I'm thrilled that it passed," said Helen Majchrowski, a nurse practitioner.

Majchrowski was referring to the passage of Question Three on the Massachusetts ballot Tuesday, which legalized medical marijuana. Majchowski said she has first-hand knowledge that it works.

"We used it out in California when I lived out there and got very good responses. Increases their appetite, makes them feel better," she said.

The ballet question passed with over 60-percent of the vote, requiring a doctor's certificate to possess up to a two month supply for patients with conditions like cancer, AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

Caroline Bresnahan, a retired teacher, said she wishes she'd been able to use marijuana when she went through cancer treatments.

"I know people who have been helped through their cancer treatments by having access to marijuana," she said.

The measure also allows non profit treatment centers to grow and distribute marijuana. If patients can't get to those centers, they may be able to grow their own pot.

"Actually I don't agree with marijuana at all. I'm totally against drugs. I don't like the whole idea of drugs. I'm sure there have got to be medications on the market that can do the same thing," said Char Parron, of Pittsfield.

Opponents with the group Massachusetts Prevention Alliance, said the measure could spur fraud and abuse, and lead to further legalization of canibas. Massachusetts already allows possession of under an ounce.

"I think it's more quality of life issues. Regardless of what it is they need to take or eat, they ought to be able to do it," said Bob Tynan, of Pittsfield.

Under the new law, anyone convicted of fraudulent use of medical marijuana could face a fine of 500-dollars and up to six months in jail.