Representative Jay Kaufman’s award winning public policy forum, “OPEN HOUSE”, kicks off its 18th season with a thought provoking look at the two statewide ballot questions; legalizing medical marijuana and physician- assisted suicide. The forum, “The Pros and Cons of Medical Marijuana & Death With Dignity Campaigns” will be held on Thursday, September 20th, from 7:00PM-8:30PM at the historic Depot in Lexington Center (13 Depot Square in Lexington Center).

Joining Rep. Kaufman to discuss the benefits of Medical Marijuana will be Matt Allen, Executive Director for the Committee for Compassionate Medicine. Speaking against this initiative is Kevin Sabet, Spokesman for the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance. Supporters of Medical Marijuana say that prohibiting physicians from proscribing this treatment denies patients with debilitating illnesses from a full and necessary spectrum of medical treatment options. Those opposed to the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes argue that the implementation of this policy will invariably lead to a spike in drug distribution and abuse.

The second segment of the forum will deal with the Death With Dignity ballot question. Representing the Dignity 2012 petition will be Attorney Jim Gross, President of Compassion & Choices of Greater Boston. Representing the opposition is John Kelly, Director of Second Thoughts: People with Disabilities Opposing the Legalization of Physician Assisted Suicide, part of the Committee Against Physician-Assisted Suicide. Petitioners of this initiative say that by allowing a terminally ill, mentally competent adult the right to request and receive a prescription to hasten death, under certain specific safeguards, is both a responsible and humane way to administer end-of-life care. Detractors argue that this ballot question lacks the safeguards needed to make sure patients learn about other approaches to their difficult diagnoses, thus avoiding preventable suicides. Come join what promises to be a very lively and informative discussion Thursday, September 20th, at the Lexington Historic Depot Building.

In 1997, OPEN HOUSE was awarded the prestigious Beacon Award, cable television’s equivalent of an Emmy, as the nation’s best government relations series. The series was also named the best television series by Massachusetts Cable Television Commission. The OPEN HOUSE series is produced through a partnership between Representative Kaufman and LexMedia which records the forums for broadcast in Lexington, Arlington, and Woburn.