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Hearing on medical marijuana set for Friday in Northampton

The state Department of Public Health is inviting testimony from the public about the issue. The forum begins at 10 a.m. at the Look Park Garden House.

Draft regulations provide a level of detail that wasn’t available when the law went into effect Jan. 1.

The Department of Public Health has until May 1 to issue regulations that will govern how medical marijuana is approved for use, how it will be dispensed, how doctors can certify patients for its use, how much marijuana constitutes a 60-day supply and how to register a dispensary, also called a treatment center.

For example, under the proposed regulations, no more than three treatment centers can be owned by the same entity and can only grow marijuana plants for their certified patients’ use in the treatment center or at an alternate location in the state, but not both.

The proposed regulations define a 60-day supply of marijuana as 10 ounces, but provide a means for increasing that amount under a doctor’s discretion on a case-by-case basis.

Dispensary applicants must provide proof that they have at least $500,000 in an escrow account to ensure there is enough money to operate effectively, according the draft regulations.

Anyone who wishes to present testimony is asked to submit remarks in advance via email to reg.testimony@state.ma.us.

Speakers are asked to submit their remarks as an attached Word document or as text within the body of the email and use “Medical Marijuana” in the subject line.

All submissions must have the sender’s full name and address. The state Department of Public Health will post all electronic testimony that complies with its instructions on its website, www.mass.gov/dph.

Those unable to submit electronic testimony should mail their submissions to LouAnn Stanton, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Public Health, 250 Washington St., Boston MA 02108.

All testimony must be submitted by 5 p.m. on April 20.

All written or oral comments submitted to the Department of Public Health may be posted on its website and released in response to public records requests.

Two other forums are being held at the same time, one in Plymouth and the other in Boston.

A complete copy of the draft regulations is available on the department’s website.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@gazettenet.com.

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