Healthcare Leaders Urge a NO Vote on Question 4

recreationalmarijuana_ballotquestion_image_990x450The leaders of the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association, the Organization Nurse Leaders of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, and the American Nurses Association of Massachusetts today issued a joint statement urging voters to cast a “no” vote on Question 4 that would permit the legalization of recreational marijuana.

The statement was signed by MMS President James S. Gessner, M.D., MHA President and CEO Lynn Nicholas, ONL CEO Amanda Stefancyk-Oberlies, and ANAMass. President Cathleen Colleran Santos, D.N.P., R.N.

The statement called attention to a “misleading video advertisement and direct mail piece” directed to voters, implying that the ballot question is related to medical marijuana and that Question 4 has broad support from the healthcare community.  Neither is accurate.

Medical marijuana is already permitted in the Commonwealth, under strict regulations issued by the Department of Public Health, and Question 4 is unrelated to medical marijuana and pertains only to recreational marijuana.  Major health care organizations in the Commonwealth, including the MMS, have explicitly stated their opposition to Question 4, outlining the dangers to public and individual health and pointing out serious failings in the ballot question itself.

The complete statement issued this morning by the four organizations:

“As four of the state’s leading healthcare provider organizations, representing hospitals, health systems, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers, we stand firmly against Question 4 on the November 2016 ballot. Question 4 seeks to legalize the commercial sale of marijuana in Massachusetts, and poses a direct threat to the public health and safety of our patients and communities. We are proud to be part of an even larger coalition of healthcare, business, and community leaders – joined by a bipartisan group of state and local leaders – all aligned with the Campaign for a Safe & Healthy Massachusetts to oppose Question 4.

The corporate interests promoting Question 4 recently issued a misleading video advertisement and direct mail piece sent to voters across the Commonwealth. Both pieces incorrectly imply that this ballot question is about medical marijuana, which is already legal in Massachusetts, and also inappropriately indicate the question has broad healthcare community support.  Considering the comprehensive alignment of the state’s major healthcare organizations in opposition to Question 4, these advertisements are deceptive and inaccurate.  As healthcare leaders, we believe it is important for voters to know that healthcare professionals and organizations throughout the Commonwealth have a clear and unified message –Vote NO on Question 4.

Other healthcare organizations urging your opposition to Question 4 include: the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals, the Association of Behavioral Healthcare, Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics,  Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Physicians, Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians, Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians, Massachusetts Society of Anesthesiologists, Massachusetts Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Massachusetts Gastroenterology Association, Massachusetts Society of Neurosurgeons, Massachusetts Association of Practicing Urologists, Massachusetts Orthopaedic Association, the Massachusetts School Nurse Organization, and the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts.”



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