Soon? (photo: epape via Flickr)

Massachusetts could soon become the newest state to allow patients to legally use medical marijuana. The Massachusetts Secretary of State recently certified four citizen initiative petitions, including a medical marijuana one. The medical marijuana initiative would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions and doctor’s certification to possess up to a 60-day supply of medical marijuana. The initiative would also allow for the creation of some non-profit medical marijuana care centers which could grow marijuana to provide to certified patients.

Since Massachusetts uses a unique form of the indirect initiative system, now that the Secretary of State has certified that the measure received enough valid signatures it’s sent directly to the state legislature. If majorities in the state legislature approve the initiative it will become law right away. If the state legislature doesn’t adopt the initiative, supporters can gather another roughly 11,000 signatures to have the initiative placed on the general election ballot. If voters approve the initiative it will then become law thirty days later.

It is possible that the Massachusetts’ legislature will save everyone some time by approving the initiative now that it has been sent to them. It is what their constituents want.

Even if the legislature doesn’t act,  medical marijuana will probably be legalized in the state before the end of the year. If the legislature doesn’t approve the initiative, it is very likely the add-on signatures will be gathered to put the measure on November 2012 ballot. If the initiative makes it onto the ballot, it is almost assured to be approved by the voters in the state. Massachusetts voters have been very supportive marijuana policy reform. With 58 percent of the state supporting full legalization of marijuana there is little doubt they would vote to legalize medical marijuana for very ill patients.

Before this year is over it is very likely Massachusetts will become one of the newest states to allow the use of medical marijuana.