Mass. Medical Society posts statements opposing ballot questions on patient deaths and marijuana

The Massachusetts Medical Society posted statements online Monday affirming its opposition to ballot questions on whether the state should legalize marijuana for medical use by those who obtain certification from a doctor (Question 3), and whether physicians should be allowed to prescribe life-ending drugs to a patient with a terminal illness (Question 2).

The society said that predicting the end of life is difficult, so passage of Question 2 may lead people to take life-ending drugs prematurely, and that doctors should not participate in a person’s suicide.

“The Massachusetts Medical Society has reaffirmed its commitment to provide physicians treating terminally ill patients with the ethical, medical, social, and legal education, training, and resources to enable them to contribute to the comfort and dignity of the patient and the patient’s family,” the group wrote on its website, where it posted a document outlining points for and against the proposal.

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On medical use of marijuana, the group said the drug has not been adequately studied according to federal standards, so claims about its effectiveness “would not be accepted as proof of effectiveness for any other medicine under development.”

The group opposes Question 3, but said on its website that it is in favor of federal reclassification of marijuana so that it may be better studied and of development of marijuana-derived medications.