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Mass. Voters to Decide on Medical Marijuana

By DENISE LAVOIE
Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts voters will be asked on Nov. 6 to decide whether the state should legalize medical marijuana.

A proposed law would eliminate state criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marijuana by people with cancer, hepatitis C, Parkinson’s disease, HIV, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other conditions.

Supporters say marijuana eases the suffering of people with debilitating diseases.

Opponents say the law, as written, is ripe for abuse and fraud. They fear there is no effective way to regulate marijuana dispensaries to make sure only sick patients get the drug. And they say they see the ballot question as the next step toward full legalization of marijuana. In 2008, Massachusetts decriminalized possession of marijuana in amounts under one ounce.