Archive for August, 2012

Portland medical marijuana rally slated for Saturday at Deering Oaks Park

August 30th, 2012

Atlantic CannaFEST

1:00 AM

Portland medical marijuana rally slated for Saturday at Deering Oaks Park

Festival will run from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and is expected to draw 200 to 300 people, but pot smoking will not be allowed

By Randy Billings rbillings@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Visitors to Deering Oaks on Saturday may take in a little more than fresh air.

A marijuana plant

Staff file photo by Joe Phelan

The park will be the venue for a free medical marijuana rally and festival featuring speakers, music and vendors selling indoor growing equipment.

The Atlantic CannaFEST will run from 1 to 5 p.m. and is expected to draw 200 to 300 people. It will promote medical marijuana and include a high-profile giveaway of pot to low-income patients, to protest the prices at state-sanctioned dispensaries.

So far, city officials, police and parents who use a nearby playground are treating Saturday’s pot rally as just another day in the park.

“It doesn’t bother me any,” said Ashley Van Vliet, 21, of Westbrook, who visited Deering Oaks on Tuesday with her 3-month-old son and 2-year-old daughter.

Maine is no stranger to marijuana festivals. Harry Brown’s Farm has hosted pro-marijuana festivals in Starks since 1991. Last year, the Augusta Civic Center hosted a medical marijuana expo put on by the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, which featured an outdoor tent where registered patients could smoke pot.

There will be no such tent Saturday in Portland, because fire

Article source: http://www.onlinesentinel.com/news/medical-pot-rally-on-tap-for-portland_2012-08-29.html

Madison marijuana patient secures housing assistance – WCSH

August 28th, 2012

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MADISON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A medical marijuana patient in Madison now will not have to decide between growing his medicine and losing help he gets from the Maine State Housing Authority.

Don LaRouche suffers from glaucoma, muscle spasms and Crohns disease. He uses medical marijuana to treat those conditions. Yet he also counts on federal housing vouchers he gets from the Maine State Housing Authority to pay his rent.

Early last month LaRoche got a letter from that organization. It said since marijuana is banned by federal law he must stop growing marijuana or lose his housing vouchers. Since then the housing authority has learned that it can make its own rules for medical marijuana patients currently in the voucher program. Officials sent LaRouche a letter last week saying they will not pursue terminating his assistance.

LaRouche says he’s hoping the housing authority will do the same for others like him.

“I would hope that they would understand that we’re not criminals,” he said, “it’s no different then use using prescription medication from a drug store.”

Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services is considering rule changes for the state’s medical marijuana program. Officials with the Maine State Housing Authority say they are planning to let those changes be ironed out first before amending their own policies.

NEWS

Article source: http://www.wcsh6.com/news/article/212092/2/Madison-marijuana-patient-secures-housing-assistance-

Madison marijuana patient secures housing assistance – WLBZ

August 24th, 2012

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MADISON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A medical marijuana patient in Madison now will not have to decide between growing his medicine and losing help he gets from the Maine State Housing Authority.

Don LaRouche suffers from glaucoma, muscle spasms and Crohns disease. He uses medical marijuana to treat those conditions. Yet he also counts on federal housing vouchers he gets from the Maine State Housing Authority to pay his rent.

Early last month LaRoche got a letter from that organization. It said since marijuana is banned by federal law he must stop growing marijuana or lose his housing vouchers. Since then the housing authority has learned that it can make its own rules for medical marijuana patients currently in the voucher program. Officials sent LaRouche a letter last week saying they will not pursue terminating his assistance.

LaRouche says he’s hoping the housing authority will do the same for others like him.

“I would hope that they would understand that we’re not criminals,” he said, “it’s no different then use using prescription medication from a drug store.”

Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services is considering rule changes for the state’s medical marijuana program. Officials with the Maine State Housing Authority say they are planning to let those changes be ironed out first before amending their own policies.

NEWS

Article source: http://www.wlbz2.com/news/article/212092/3/Madison-marijuana-patient-secures-housing-assistance-

Large Pot Grow Operation Discovered During Waldo Canyon Fire Battle, Feds Say

August 23rd, 2012

Back in June, while firefighters were battling the Waldo Canyon Fire, the most destructive wildfire in state history, they discovered a sophisticated and large-scale marijuana grow operation in Pike National Forest.

The grow operation, covering approximately 22-acres and containing around 7,500 plants, was hidden on a mountainside above the Cascade-Chipita Park community west of Colorado Springs. The large grow site had a living area for pot growers, dams and irrigation systems, CBS4 reports. The estimated street value of the pot discovered was $15 million.

Some of the pot plants had burned in the fire which ultimately consumed 18,247 acres, killed two people, destroyed nearly 350 homes and forced the evacuation of 32,000 people.

The details of the grow operation discovered near the Waldo Canyon wildfire area came with the announcement that Colorado officials are participating in a multi-agency, multi-state effort to crackdown on marijuana grown on public lands.

In a press statement, U.S. Attorney for Colorado John Walsh said, “Use of the public lands for marijuana cultivation is an environmental crime as well as a violation of our nation’s anti-drug laws.” Walsh said this is just one of 16 large marijuana grow sites that have been raided on Colorado public lands since 2009.

“Those who engage in this activity are endangering public safety and harming Colorado’s treasured wild lands and high country, and will be apprehended and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Walsh continued in the statement.

The U.S. Forest Service says that these large-scale illegal grow operations

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/22/large-pot-grow-operation-_n_1821159.html

Madison Man May Continue to Grow Marijuana in His Home…For Now

August 21st, 2012

Madison –

The Maine State Housing Authority is holding off on a threat to take away a Madison man’s housing assistance if he didn’t stop growing his medical marijuana in the house.

It’s thanks in large part to the intervention of a state representative from Chelsea.

50-year-old Don LaRouche was told over the weekend he can resume growing his medical marijuana in his home.

LaRouche had written letters to Gov. Lepage and his own state representative but nobody responded.

That was until republican Deborah Sanderson heard the story.

After she met with officials from the Maine State Housing Authority, they agreed to back off their stance for now.

LaRouche has been given a reprieve until the Department of Health and Human Services finishes crafting new rules to govern the medical marijuana program.

Once that process is finished, Maine State Housing will create policy based on those rules.

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Article source: http://www.wabi.tv/news/32708/madison-man-may-continue-to-grow-marijuana-in-his-home-for-now

500 smoke out some fun at Hempstock in Harmony

August 20th, 2012

August 20

500 attendees smoke out some fun at Hempstock in Harmony

By Ben McCanna bmccanna@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

HARMONY — Attendance was light, but the party rolled on.

Kendall Emerton, left, and Jordan Rousse dance with hoops to live music during the Hempstock Fest in Harmony on Sunday. Organizer Don Christen said the 22nd festival of camping and music draws people interested in ending prohibition of marijuana. “The festival went well this year, though attendance was down from previous years,” Christen said.

Staff photo by David Leaming

Between Thursday and Sunday, about 500 people camped on a grassy field for the 22nd annual Hempstock, a four-day festival of peace, love, music — and hemp.

Event organizer Don Christen said the goal of the annual party is simple.

“We want to legalize marijuana, period,” he said. “People who smoke marijuana are not criminals. The perception of marijuana is distorted.”

For the past four years, Christen has hosted the festival on his Carson Hill Road property, called Freedom Field. Originally, the event had been held on a farm in Starks, but the landowner started his own annual pot party and cut Christen out, he said. Since then, attendance at Christen’s event has slipped.

Christen charged campers $25 per day or $60 for the weekend, which will allow the festival to break even with operational expenses this year. In better years, strong ticket sales helped Christen do more.

“Until attendance picks up, that’s about all we can

Article source: http://www.onlinesentinel.com/news/500-smoke-out-fun-at-hempstock_2012-08-19.html

Medical Marijuana: Maine’s Proposed Prescription Pot Rules Criticized by Many

August 15th, 2012

maineattraction.jpgAs Maine tries to come up with ways to manage its medical marijuana program, one of the state’s lawmakers is speaking out against some proposed restrictions.

As detailed by the Portland Daily Sun, Rep. Deb Sanderson worries that the state will implement rules that “are more restrictive and divergent from the intent of the citizen’s initiative legalizing medical marijuana passed in 2009.”

Some of those measures?

For starters, prescription pot participants wouldn’t be able to grow plants within 25 feet “of any property boundary.”

Also, plants would have to “be enclosed by an 8 foot privacy fence, with motion sensitive lighting. The site would have to be at residence where the grower is living, and the department could require unspecified ‘other security measures’ at any time.”

Obviously, these kinds of measures put a burden on poorer curative cannabis users, as well as those who are disabled or homeless.

They have made a lot of Maine’s medical marijuana community upset, too: over 175 filled the state House of Representatives on Monday, when lawmakers and the Department of Health and Human Services and its Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services held a public hearing on the issue.

The Department will accept public comments on the program until Aug. 23.

And lawmakers plan on holding meetings with stakeholders while deciding the issue.

One concern that keeps coming up?

Some worry that the 8 foot fence mandate would actually increase medical marijuana-oriented crime.

Most

Article source: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/08/medical_marijua_maine_proposed_rules.php

New medical marijuana rules criticized as burdensome, self-defeating

August 14th, 2012

1:00 AM

New medical marijuana rules criticized as burdensome, self-defeating

By Susan McMillan smcmillan@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995, Falmouth resident Kelly Irwin found that marijuana worked better to treat her pain, fatigue and nausea far better than the opiates she was prescribed.

Irwin has successfully grown her own medical marijuana, but she worries she won’t be able to do that anymore if legislators approve new regulations on cultivation.

She was one of dozens patients, caregivers and advocates who packed a legislative committee room to overflowing on Monday to complain about proposed requirements for 8-foot fences, motion-activated floodlights, property setbacks and vegetative plant limits.

“My current growing location meets the intention of the law in that I grow my marijuana on a secure and private deck, which is 12 feet off the ground, with no outdoor stair access,” Irwin said. “The deck’s location obscures the plants from view. The private deck’s location is the only possibility for me because of my mobility issues.”

The patients and caregivers said the proposed rules would limit access to medical marijuana for low-income patients and could actually undermine security for growers.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which has proposed the rules, will accept public comments on the proposed rules until Aug. 23.

Regulations must be updated following last year’s passage of L.D. 1296, a bill that liberalized medical marijuana laws, most notably by removing the requirement that patients must register with the state.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea,

Article source: http://www.onlinesentinel.com/news/medical-marijuananew-rulescriticised-asburdensomeself-defeating_2012-08-13.html

Medical marijuana changes draws crowd in Maine

August 14th, 2012

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Proposed rule changes to Maine’s medical marijuana program drew a crowd to a public hearing, where many said the changes were too restrictive.

Article source: http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/2012/08/13/medical-marijuana-changes-draws-crowd-maine/yS2DAeGuBkoX5eLaPbYJVK/story.html

Proposed New Medical Pot Rules in Maine Generate Controversy

August 13th, 2012

The legislative hearing was filled to capacity–about 100 people, with dozens more in two overflow rooms. They came to weigh in on proposed changes to the state’s rules governing the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program.

And although there were some proposed changes favored by medical marijuana patients, those speaking made it clear there is still plenty of room for improvement. “Twelve plants is not enough, there’s mistakes that happen,” said Michael Pirruccello of Benton.

Pirruccello is an electrician from Benton and a medicial marijuana patient who says he relies on the drug for pain control after he nearly killing himself on opiates. He says the current marijuana law restricts caregivers to six plants per patient. He says because caregivers sometimes rely on each other for plants, a problem with a particular variety creates a domino effect for some.

“What happens now, when somebody screws up, it screws everybody up, ” Pirruccello said. “Because everybody’s running for clones. Everybody’s running to grow something. We just need a law that says this is a drug that has helped people.”

Mainers approved a law establishing state-licensed dispensaries to distribute marijuana three years ago. The law also included a state identification system for patients who must meet certain medical preconditons to access the drug. Although some of those requirements were relaxed under a law passed by the Legislature last year, the Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services at DHHS is now in the process of developing further rules for the program.

Among

Article source: http://www.mpbn.net/Home/tabid/36/ctl/ViewItem/mid/3478/ItemId/23253/Default.aspx