Gov. Patrick Leaning Away From Medical Marijuana
BOSTON — Speaking about the two medically related ballot questions, Gov. Deval Patrick said the experience of watching his mother die has moved him toward favoring life-ending medication, and said he has no personal experience with marijuana, medical or otherwise.
“I am told, and I will tell you that you will laugh when I say it because most people do – never having experienced marijuana myself,” Patrick began to tell co-hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on WTKK Thursday morning, when Eagan interjected.
“You’re kidding,” Eagan said. “You were never curious at Milton Academy when all the other kids were getting stoned?”
“Let me put it this way: There was probably enough around me that there was a second-hand, a contact-high,” Patrick said.
While Patrick said he was leaning against Question 3, which would legalize medical marijuana, he said he was leaning in favor of Question 2, which would allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to certain terminally ill patients who request it.
It was the loss of Patrick’s grandmother and especially the loss of his mother, who succumbed to uterine cancer and hepatitis, which he said swayed him to favor giving people control over the end of their lives.
“I’m a lot more sympathetic to that ballot question,” Patrick said. He said, “Life is a mystery and God works in extraordinary ways and sometimes people defy their physicians’ predictions, but having seen my mother’s experience most especially – and I think thinking about my own one day – I think I would like to have that option personally, but as I said I think it’s a very personal thing.”
Later in the morning at an event in Cambridge, Patrick told the News Service that he was not formally endorsing a position on Question 2, because he believes it is personal. Speaking on the radio about medical marijuana, Patrick didn’t firmly come out for or against the medical marijuana enabling Question 3, either, but expressed some reservations and said he was unenthused by the prospect.
“I don’t have a lot of enthusiasm for the medical marijuana. I mean I have heard the views on both sides and I’m respectful of the views of both sides, and I don’t have a lot of energy around that,” Patrick said. He said, “I think California’s experience has been mixed, and I’m sympathetic to the folks who are in chronic pain and looking for some form of relief.”
In California, the state’s legalization of medical marijuana has at times run head-long into federal authorities, who follow federal laws wherein marijuana remains illegal.
On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr., whose jurisdiction includes Los Angeles, took actions against what his office described as 71 “illegal marijuana stores,” including asset forfeiture lawsuits and warning letters.
In 2008, Massachusetts voters passed a ballot law decriminalizing possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.