How much longer does Father Joe Quinn have to wait?
Sometimes, when the Franciscan friar says Mass at St. Anthony’s Shrine downtown, he is in so much pain that tears roll down his face. He has Ogilvie’s syndrome, a rare gastrointestinal disorder that has put him in the hospital for months at a time, required multiple operations, and left him dependent on a feeding tube. It hurts, all day every day, the agony an 8 or 9 on a 10-point scale.
“After a while, the pain becomes unredemptive,” he said, his eyes welling. “It doesn’t serve any purpose, except to be in pain.”
He can’t take painkillers, because they exacerbate his condition. His doctor told him there is nothing she can do for him, and recommended he use medical marijuana. That should be possible for Quinn. He got a permit to buy medical marijuana months ago. But like thousands of others, he has been held hostage by the debacle that is this state’s medical marijuana program.
“I have walked down in the lobby and smelt smoke and I’m thinking, ‘I know that’s not incense,’ ” Quinn said. “It’s all around. I just do not understand what the big deal is, when you can get heroin for a fraction of the price on the street.”
The art, and science, behind growing medical marijuana
Others might risk going to that street for what they need, but he’s a priest. He wants to get help legally and properly.
Massachusetts voters legalized medical marijuana back in 2012. The first dispensaries should have opened last summer. But the implementation of the system has been a case study in ham-handedness. The approval process for vendors became such a bog of questions, confusion, and scandal that some applicants fled.
One company, Patriot Care, survived the state’s messy approval process (and several unflattering Globe stories) to get licenses for three dispensaries. It is hoping to open the first in downtown Boston, on Milk Street, a short walk from St. Anthony’s Shrine.
But some powerful neighbors won’t have it. The Downtown Boston Business Improvement District, a coalition of commercial property owners in the area, is opposed. The group’s president, Rosemarie Sansone, was kind enough …Read More