BOSTON (AP) - Marijuana advocates are calling on Gov. Deval Patrick to make better progress on licensing medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance is organizing a rally at the Statehouse Thursday afternoon and then will deliver a letter outlining their concerns to the governor.

Matthew Allen, the group's executive director, says the goal is to try to shift attention back to residents who need marijuana to cope with long term illnesses such as cancer and chronic pain. He says too much focus has been placed on political intrigue around the 20 companies that have been awarded temporary licenses to become one of the state's first medical marijuana dispensaries.

The rally comes on the same afternoon state lawmakers are set to hold a hearing on a proposal to legalize and tax marijuana outright.


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