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Date: 11/20/2017 5:25 PM EST

Criminal Justice Reform not quite done...

The House passed its version of criminal justice reform legislation last week, after the Senate passed a much broader bill.  Both bills seek to update mandatory minimum sentences, reduce recidivism, and better protect victims.  The bill now goes to conference committee, where six legislators will work out the differences and report out a single bill. That bill will be taken up by the full Legislature in a straight up-or-down vote before it heads to the Governor’s desk for signature.

Medical Marijuana regulations updated...

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) updated its regulations for the medical use of cannabis as it prepares to move oversight of that industry to the newly-formed Cannabis Control Commission.  Passage of the law that made adult use of cannabis legal also made changes to certain aspects of medical marijuana operations.

Under the new law, medical marijuana dispensaries can operate as for-profit organizations and the regulations needed updating to reflect that they no longer had to organize as non-profits as a condition of licensure.  Another important change is that nurse practitioners, who are able to prescribe medications in Massachusetts, can now also provide medical marijuana recommendations to patients so they can register with DPH.

Health Care changes on the horizon (?)...

The Senate passed a broad health care bill that would hold hospitals accountable for health care spending benchmarks and project whether a single-payer system would be less expensive than the current model, and potentially lay out a plan for implementation.  The House may take up the issue after formal sessions resume in January.  Of course, all of this is occurring amidst uncertainty about the federal approach to health care and the impact of those decisions on Massachusetts. Do stay tuned.

Posted by Neponset Strategies, LLP

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