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editorial

States should distribute marijuana via warehouses, not storefronts

Legalizing medical marijuana in Massachusetts was always bound to be easier to support in principle than in practice. That reality has become even clearer since Question 3’s passage in November. State public health officials now say they are likely to miss the May 1 deadline to issue regulations for potential growers and distributors of marijuana. The major sticking point has become where to put the storefront dispensaries — up to 35 of them — that the new law envisions. But a proposal by state Senator John Keenan of Quincy could resolve the impasse: Instead of allowing people to open storefront dispensaries, the state could create 10 secure warehouses and a courier system to deliver the medication to qualified patients.

Under Keenan’s proposal, there would be far less danger that marijuana grown for medicinal purposes would end up in the hands of teenagers or other illegal users. Cities and towns wouldn’t have to wrestle with the question of where to allow dispensaries. It’s a smart idea that deserves serious consideration on Beacon Hill.

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