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Ballot Question 3: Should Medical Marijuana Be Allowed In Massachusetts?

BOSTON (CBS) - Massachusetts voters will have to make decisions on three ballot questions on Election Day.

Question 3 would allow for the use of medical marijuana in the Commonwealth.

Eric McCoy, who supports the measure, lives with progressive multiple sclerosis and enjoys living on his own in his Boston apartment.

He says that relief from painful muscle spasms which limit his mobility only comes from one thing.

"Without medical marijuana I would not be able to move my legs properly, I would not be able to take care of myself, to get around."

How does he get it?

"Because it's illegal," McCoy told WBZ-TV. " I'd prefer not to discuss my procurement methods."

But Eric won't have to break the law if Massachusetts voters pass Question 3.

His message to voters?

"Medical marijuana helps so many people in the state of Massachusetts that need the medicine."

If Question 3 passes, doctors could recommend medical marijuana for patients with certain conditions including MS, cancer or parkinson's. 35 state-regulated marijuana centers would supply it, but in some hardship cases people could grow marijuana on their own. While easing pain sounds humane, opponents say the consequences would be too severe.

"We just opened our fourth recovery high school in Massachusetts and the number one drug that kids are in treatment for in those high schools is marijuana."

Opponents like Heidi Heilman with the Mass Prevention Alliance and the Massachusetts Medical Society worry that safeguards aren't strong enough to prevent abuse.

"If we are really in a place where we need to allow patients to have access to medical marijuana we are truly in those places of chronic illness," says Heilman, "then let's put a different law together - this is not it."

Massachusetts would become the 16th state to allow use of medical marijuana. Supporters say it would be the safest in the country because abusing the new law would be a felony.

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