PITTSFIELD, M.A. - After a vote passed Tuesday with support of 63 percent of voters in Massachusetts, medical marijuana will be allowed beginning on January 1st, 2013.
Massachusetts largest physician group, the Massachusetts Medical Society is against the law. The society has more than 400 members in Berkshire County alone, and thousands statewide.
Although the allowed 35 medical marijuana distribution centers may be in place by next year as expected, the question remains, will there be enough doctors willing to give certificates to patients for it?
Dr. Basil Michaels is President Elect for the Berkshire County Chapter of the Massachusetts Medical Society. He says he like his fellow members is against the use of medical marijuana.
"If they need to seek out the medical marijuana they're going to have to go to a different provider because I'm not going to prescribe that," said Michaels.
Michaels says those doctors for it are a small minority in the state.
"It puts doctors in a very bad position. I think that it makes us into drug dealers effectively," Michaels said.
Although there have been studies reporting the benefits of medical marijuana for cancer patients and glaucoma and other illnesses Michaels says it needs to be studied further.
"It's not controlled. It's not manufactured. It's not purified and we don't know what the dosage is going to be with any particular marijuana cigarette or bowl that you would smoke," said Michaels.
The Massachusetts medical society has also expressed concern of how the state will regulate the distribution.
"Percocet, Vicodin, these are controlled substances that are prescribed. Yes they go from Grandma's medicine cabinet to the grandchild's school. That happens already and so we're going to see that with medical marijuana also," said Michaels.
Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Attorney Mike Cutler says he already has clients ready to apply to open dispensaries, but will they have the business they're looking for?
"It's disappointing that doctors whose first interest is suppose to be their patients health seem to be more concerned about their license to practice than a patients health. The evidence of marijuana's advocacy is well established," said Cutler.
The law goes into effect on January 1st, 2013. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has around four months to decide on regulations.