Marijuana Legalization Committee Votes to Extend Ban on Recreational Sales to Mid-April

January 19th, 2018 by admin No comments »

AUGUSTA, Maine. (WABI) Legislation to extend the moratorium on Maine’s commercial cannabis market was unanimously voted out of committee Friday.

The bill now heads to the House and Senate for further action.

The ban on recreational marijuana sales expires on February 1st, leaving little time for lawmakers to extend it or pass the lengthy legislation regulating the market.

“By extending this moratorium, you continue to leave us without safety, without labeling and advertising protections. This means that untested product is in the ‘commercial market.’ It’s the unregulated ‘commercial market,'” said Heather Sullivan.

Sullivan works for Canuvo, York County’s only licensed medical dispensary. She argued to the state’s Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee the illicit market continues to thrive during the ban while those following the rules in the medical cannabis market are losing business to illegal delivery services and the like.

“The problem with our current situation is that the illicit marketplace looks at Maine kids as customers. I’ll be supporting today’s clean measure to extend this for a couple of months, but really we need to be speaking truth to power. And the truth is we are in the Wild West,” said Rep. Kent Ackley, (C) Monmouth.

The Maine Municipal Association supports the moratorium extension to avoid legal issues between towns and residents seeking commercial licenses.

“If the statewide moratorium on commercial licenses expires on the date currently in statute, less than two weeks away on February 1st, municipalities are likely to be faced with a flood

Article source: http://www.wabi.tv/content/news/Marijuana-Legalization-Committee-Votes-to-Extend-Ban-on-Recreational-Sales-to-Mid-April-470178143.html

South Portland Police beat Jan. 19

January 19th, 2018 by admin No comments »
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Arrests 

12/31 at 3:37 a.m. Xavier Diaz, 26, of South Portland, was arrested on Westbrook Street by Officer Jacob LaChance on a warrant. 

1/1 at 1:50 a.m. Michael S. Gallagher, 21, of York, was arrested on Maine Mall Road by Officer Ezekiel Collins on charges of domestic violence assault, criminal mischief and violating conditions of release. 

Summonses

12/30 at 1:26 p.m. Alfred Lueder, 37, of Portland, was issued a summons on Broadway by Officer Rocco Navarro on a charge of failure to register vehicle. 

12/30 at 11:37 p.m. Christopher Buchanan, 35, of South Portland, was issued a summons on Broadway by Officer Chris Gosling on a charge of failing to notify of a motor vehicle accident. 

12/31 at 12:59 p.m. a 14-year-old girl, of Buxton, was issued a summons on Maine Mall Road by Officer Peter Corbett on a charge of theft for unauthorized taking. 

12/31 at 12:59 p.m. a 14-year-old girl, of Gorham, was issued a summons on Maine Mall Road by Officer Peter Corbett on a charge of theft for unauthorized taking. 

1/1 at 9:37 a.m. Kay Hanson, 22, of Whitefield, was summonsed on Broadway by Officer Rocco Navarro on a charge of operating after registration. 

1/1 at 4:47 p.m. David Blanchette, 44, of South Portland, was issued a summons on Broadway by Officer Kim Theriault on a charge of failing to notify of a motor vehicle accident. 

1/1 at 5:59 p.m. Deborah Frothingham, 36, no address listed, was issued a summons on Sawyer Brook Circle by

Article source: http://www.theforecaster.net/south-portland-police-beat-jan-19/

Two marijuana caregivers sue Maine agency in effort to block new regulations

January 19th, 2018 by admin No comments »

The owners of a Belfast medical marijuana shop are going to federal court in an attempt to stop Maine from implementing new medical marijuana regulations next month.

Caregivers Justin Olsen and Nancy Shaw of New World Organics say the rules violate patient privacy and force caregivers to divulge confidential patient information to the state.

The caregivers and two of their unnamed patients – an injured combat veteran and a woman undergoing cancer treatment – filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures,” Shaw said on Facebook.

In Maine, patients with a qualifying medical condition can use medical cannabis with a doctor’s approval. They get a card from the doctor, but they don’t have to register with the state.

The new rules allow the state Department of Health and Human Services to conduct same-day inspections of caregiver operations and inspect a patient’s house with a day’s notice.

Olson and Shaw believe the warrantless search of a caregiver’s grow, which is often located on their personal property, or a patient’s house is an unconstitutional search and seizure.

The plaintiffs say the state would learn of their patients’ identities during inspections, a violation of patient rights under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

“Disclosure of records not only violates the privacy rights of the qualifying patients, it also subjects caregivers who disclose the records … to a civil fine of up to $50,000,” the suit says.

The suit asks the court to stop DHHS, the agency that

Article source: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/01/19/two-pot-caregivers-sue-maine-agency-in-effort-to-block-new-regulations/

Suit aims to protect Maine medical pot patients, growers from new …

January 19th, 2018 by admin No comments »
Micky Bedell | BDN

A lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Bangor seeks to postpone or limit implementation of new rules governing the use of medical marijuana, claiming they violate the Constitution and patient privacy laws.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, names Commissioner Ricker Hamilton in its complaint against the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Plaintiffs include state-licensed growers Justin Olsen and Nancy Shaw, who own the New World Organics medical marijuana storefront in Belfast. In addition, two anonymous plaintiffs are identified as medical marijuana patients.

The complaint asks that certain provisions set to take effect Feb. 1 be declared unlawful, including the procedural process by which the rules were drafted and adopted. In addition, the lawsuit claims some provisions violate constitutional protections and the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, by failing to protect patient privacy.

“The most important issue here is the confidentiality of medical records of patients who use medical marijuana,” the plaintiffs’ attorney, John Markham of Waldoboro and Boston, said in a phone interview Wednesday.

The new rules allow DHHS agents to enter a marijuana dispensary or growing operation without notice or cause and have unrestricted access to documents and records, he said.

Medical marijuana users who legally grow their own supply at home also are at risk for

Article source: https://bangordailynews.com/2018/01/18/health/suit-aims-to-protect-maine-medical-pot-patients-growers-from-new-regulations/

Judge excludes drug test on Maine fishing boat captain facing manslaughter charges

January 18th, 2018 by admin No comments »

A federal judge has restricted the federal government’s ability to use results of a blood test taken from a Cushing fishing boat captain accused of causing the deaths of two crew members when his lobster boat sank during a November 2014 gale.

U.S. District Court Judge D. Brock Hornby issued his ruling Wednesday in the case of 29-year-old Christopher A. Hutchinson, who is charged with two counts of seaman’s manslaughter for the deaths of Tom Hammond, 27, of Rockland, and 15-year-old Tyler Sawyer, who lived in St. George and Waldoboro. They were crew members aboard Hutchinson’s lobster boat, No Limits, which sank on Nov. 1, 2014.

CHRISTOPHER HUTCHINSON

The judge ruled that Coast Guard regulations do not compel a seaman to submit to a blood test. Hornby also ruled that Hutchinson did not give consent voluntarily.

The investigators also failed to get a warrant to obtain a blood sample from Hutchinson and there were no exigent circumstances requiring the test before a warrant was obtained. The government also did not have probable cause to take the sample, Hornby ruled.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office can only use the results of the blood test at the upcoming trial if Hutchinson testifies that he did not use any drugs.

Hutchinson’s attorney, Michael Turndorf of Portland, had asked for the blood test to be suppressed at trial, arguing that it was done without a warrant or probable cause. Hearings on the suppression motion were held on Dec. 18 and Dec.

Article source: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/01/18/federal-judge-excludes-drug-test-on-fishing-boat-captain-facing-manslaughter-charges/

Patricia Rosi: The Wellness Connection in Maine

January 18th, 2018 by admin No comments »

Patricia Rosi is CEO of the Wellness Connection, a medical cannabis company operating four dispensary locations throughout Maine and which serves more than 11,000 patients.

Patricia joined our podcast host TG Branfalt last month to talk about her experience at the head of one of Maine’s most progressive new companies, what the future of adult-use cannabis looks like in Maine, and why the Americans for Safe Access advocacy group has lauded Maine’s medical cannabis program as perhaps the best regime for patients. The two also discuss the work that members of the Wellness Connection team have put into making a positive impact in their local communities via donations, volunteer work, and/or partnerships with local nonprofits — all in the name of debunking cannabis myths and shedding the stigma that has stalked the plant for decades.

You can listen to the interview via the player below, or scroll further down to read a full transcript of this week’s Ganjapreneur.com podcast episode.


Listen to the interview:


Read the transcript:

TG Branfalt: Hey, there. I’m your host, TG Branfalt, and you are listening to the Ganjapreneur.com Podcast, where we try to bring you actionable information and normalize cannabis through the stories of ganjapreneurs, activists and industry stakeholders. Today I’m joined by Patricia Rosi, CEO of the Wellness Connection of Maine, which operates four locations and has more than 11,000 patients in the state. How are you doing this afternoon?

Patricia Rosi: I am doing great, here in Maine today.

Article source: https://www.ganjapreneur.com/patricia-rosi-the-wellness-connection/

Suit aims to protect Maine medical pot patients, growers from new regulations

January 18th, 2018 by admin No comments »
Micky Bedell | BDN

A lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Bangor seeks to postpone or limit implementation of new rules governing the use of medical marijuana, claiming they violate the Constitution and patient privacy laws.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, names Commissioner Ricker Hamilton in its complaint against the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Plaintiffs include state-licensed growers Justin Olsen and Nancy Shaw, who own the New World Organics medical marijuana storefront in Belfast. In addition, two anonymous plaintiffs are identified as medical marijuana patients.

The complaint asks that certain provisions set to take effect Feb. 1 be declared unlawful, including the procedural process by which the rules were drafted and adopted. In addition, the lawsuit claims some provisions violate constitutional protections and the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, by failing to protect patient privacy.

“The most important issue here is the confidentiality of medical records of patients who use medical marijuana,” the plaintiffs’ attorney, John Markham of Waldoboro and Boston, said in a phone interview Wednesday.

The new rules allow DHHS agents to enter a marijuana dispensary or growing operation without notice or cause and have unrestricted access to documents and records, he said.

Medical marijuana users who legally grow their own supply at home also are at risk for inspections by state regulators under the new rules,

Article source: https://bangordailynews.com/2018/01/18/health/suit-aims-to-protect-maine-medical-pot-patients-growers-from-new-regulations/

Maine attorney general joins push to let banks serve state-licensed pot businesses

January 17th, 2018 by admin No comments »

Access to banking services would allow tracking of revenues by regulators and tax officers, she says.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills is calling on Congress to enact federal legislation to allow banks to serve state-licensed marijuana businesses without penalty.


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Mills joined with attorneys general from 19 other states, including seven of the eight that have legalized adult-use cannabis sales, to support legislation like the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act. Introduced last year by Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter, it would create a safe harbor for banks that work with state-licensed medical and recreational businesses. Of the legal recreational states, only Nevada’s state attorney general didn’t sign Tuesday’s letter.

“The federal government needs to bring its practices in line with states that have seen fit to legalize marijuana, encouraging those businesses to use established banking institutions and to protect those financial institutions from federal sanction,” Mills said in a written statement about the group letter. “We need to do away with cash-based transactions that carry with them a lack of accountability and that sometimes lead to violent crime.”

Many banks refuse to work with businesses that earn their profits on a product that is classified as an illegal substance under federal law, fearing they could end up subject to criminal and civil liability under the Controlled Substances Act and federal banking statutes. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision earlier this month to rescind an Obama-era policy of allowing states to set

Article source: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/01/17/maine-ag-joins-push-to-let-banks-serve-state-licensed-pot-businesses-without-access-to-traditional-banking-services-marijuana-businesses-risk-theft-and-other-crimes/

Maine’s federal prosecutor says pot charges will be considered on a case-by-case basis

January 17th, 2018 by admin No comments »

The U.S. Attorney for Maine said Tuesday that he can’t declare that his office won’t prosecute marijuana possession, but such cases have not been a priority.

Halsey B. Frank said he has been asked about his approach to enforcing federal laws against marijuana possession and use after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions repealed an Obama administration policy that said the federal government would not pursue those cases in most circumstances. The Obama policy was adopted as more states were making the sale and use of small amounts of marijuana legal for recreational or medical purposes.

In Maine, both medical marijuana and recreational use by adults over 21 is legal, although state officials are still working out the details on how to regulate sales of recreational marijuana. Frank’s statement doesn’t provide much clarity for medical marijuana businesses that are already operating, or for the emerging market for recreational marijuana, which has the potential to be a multimillion dollar industry in Maine.

Frank, in a release sent out Tuesday afternoon, said that growing, distributing and possessing marijuana is illegal under federal law and “my job is to enforce federal law, not countermand it.” Frank also said that while he has some discretion in determining whether to prosecute a case, “I do not have the authority to categorically declare that my office will not prosecute a class of crime or persons.”

In light of Session’s decision, Frank said, his office will operate on a case-by-case basis, balancing the Justice Department’s policies and his office’s resources.

He went on

Article source: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/01/09/maines-u-s-attorney-said-pot-prosecution-will-be-considered-on-a-case-by-case-basis/

Maine federal prosecutor says pot users are not a priority

January 16th, 2018 by admin No comments »

Maine’s top federal prosecutor says his office will not make prosecuting marijuana users a priority.

In a statement Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank says his office will instead focus on traffickers of “hard drugs” such as opiates, cocaine and crack.

Frank’s comments come after Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed an Obama-era policy not to prosecute marijuana cases in states where the drug is legal.

Maine voters approved a law legalizing recreational marijuana in November 2016.

Although adults could use the drug as of last year, there is still no way to buy it because Republican Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed the related legislation.

Frank says his office will go on a “case-by-case basis” on deciding whether to prosecute marijuana growers and users.

Article source: http://www.wmtw.com/article/maine-federal-prosecutor-says-pot-users-are-not-a-priority/15060493