Archive for May, 2012

Medical Marijuana 101: You Can’t Smoke That On Campus

May 24th, 2012

by Susan Sharon, Maine Public Broadcasting Network

Medical marijuana is legal in 16 states, and that number is expected to grow. But these state laws put colleges in a bind. That’s because under federal law, marijuana is still illegal. So colleges that let students make use of their pot prescription pot on campus risk losing their federal funding.

For 25-year-old University of Maine junior Robyn Smith, this situation has led to a new kind of “reefer madness”: Even though he has his doctor’s authorization to use medical marijuana, when he self-medicates, Smith either goes home or retreats to his SUV, which he parks across the street from the university so that he doesn’t violate school policies on smoking and drug use on campus.

Smith’s an Army veteran who spent 15 months in Afghanistan; he’s been diagnosed with anxiety and a joint disorder. He also suffers from severe and frequent migraines. He’s been prescribed a half-dozen painkillers and other drugs to ease his symptoms — and he’s free to bring those on campus. But Smith says he doesn’t like the way they make him feel. He also worries about becoming dependent on them. Instead, he prefers medical marijuana.

“I was told to use a very small dose,” he says. “So I took two or three hits, and I have to say that it made me feel quite a bit better than the painkillers or the migraine medication or the muscle relaxers.”

University administrators say they sympathize but they can’t afford to violate the Drug Free Schools

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Medical marijuana clinic opens in Brewer – WLBZ

May 18th, 2012

BREWER, Maine (NEWS CENTER)– Wellness Connection of Maine opened a new medical marijuana clinic in Brewer late last week. Which now give Wellness Connection of Maine four medical marijuana clinics in the State.

Wellness Connection of Maine Executive Director Becky Dekeuster said patients need to receive a recommendation from their doctor before they can come to the clinic to talk about using medical marijuana.

“A physician’s note has to be on tamper proof paper. We all know what that looks like. And it’s hard if not impossible to fake,” Dekeuster said.

According to Dekeuster, the clinic needs to follow other security guidelines set up by the state, and she wants people to know that the clinic follows the rules closely.

“They can rest assured that we are operating under very stringent state regulations. That we have set ourselves a high bar internally in terms of what we expect of our staff, our patients and I think that if they give us a chance they will see that this truly a center that is helping people,” Dekeuster said.

But Brewer City Council Member Larry Doughty said, even though the clinic has rules to follow, he is still nervous about the things people might do if the use medicinal marijuana.

“People riding around getting in their cars and driving around, you know, when they shouldn’t be,” Doughty said.

Dekeuster said staff members at the clinic educate people about the effects medicinal marijuana has and how to properly use it-as well as informing patients about the state laws on medical

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Two jailed after breakins at pot cultivator’s home in Washington County

May 16th, 2012

Scott E. ConlinRaymie D. Stoddard

MACHIAS, Maine — Two Washington County men remained in custody Wednesday after being charged with breaking into the same residence near Cooper twice within 14 hours earlier in the week.

Shots were fired by a resident of the home during the second incident, which occurred at about 11:30 Monday night. The home located on Proverst Lane in Cathance Township is occupied by Seth McLaughlin and Vanessa Nemec.

“McLaughlin is a marijuana cultivator and caregiver for several marijuana patients in the area,” Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith said in a press release. “During the earlier burglary and theft, a substantial amount of the medical marijuana and a 9 mm handgun were stolen.”

Smith said that, during the second incident, as someone was trying to gain access through a window, McLaughlin called 911 and then fired six rounds from a handgun, prompting the intruders to flee. Smith said it does not appear that the intruders were armed.

Scott E. Conlin, 38, of Cutler and Raymie D. Stoddard, 30, of Machias were arrested early Tuesday morning after a vehicle stop by Washington County deputies and Machias Police on Ridge Road in Marshfield. Conlin was arrested at the scene, while a male passenger in the vehicle, later identified as Stoddard, fled on foot.

With the assistance of a K-9 unit, officers subsequently tracked and

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Medical Marijuana Poses Problems for Colleges

May 11th, 2012

It’s estimated that as many as a third of college students smoke pot. But for 25-year-old Robyn Smith, “reefer madness” has taken a whole new meaning at the University of Southern Maine where he’s a part-time junior who lives off campus and who has a doctor’s authorization to use medical marijuana.

“Gotta make sure the keys are out of the ignition or else it’s driving under the influence,” Smith said.

Smith is sitting in what could be described as his mobile pharmacy his mother’s borrowed SUV. He’s parked across the street from the school so he can self-medicate without violating laws that prohibit both smoking and drug use on school grounds. Maine is one of 16 states that has legalized medical marijuana but it’s still not permitted on the USM campus. So Smith either goes home to use or retreats to the privacy of a parked car.

Susan Sharon: “What strain are you using today?” Robyn Smith: “So, I have some Blueberry Widow, right now, which is a hybrid. I tend to use it alot because I have more of it than the other strains.”

An Army veteran who spent 15 months in Afghanistan, Smith has been diagnosed with anxiety, a joint disorder and migraines that are so severe he occasionally winds up in the emergency room. He’s currently prescribed half a dozen painkillers and other drugs to ease his symptoms. He’s free to bring those on campus. But he said he doesn’t like the way they make

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Demystifying marijuana at community college

May 9th, 2012

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WELLS, Maine — Law enforcement agents, parents, teachers, counselors and school officials gathered at York County Community College on Monday for a presentation on marijuana abuse sponsored by York Hospital’s Choose to be Healthy, Healthy Maine Partnership.

In southern Maine, there is a growing concern about marijuana use in schools, where abuse of the drug has been rising since 2006, officials said. Sally Manninen, substance abuse prevention coordinator for the Choose to be Healthy program, said the idea for the event grew out of needing to address the growing problem and to give both professionals and parents the information they need about marijuana.

“Teachers didn’t have the tools they needed for the classroom. Law enforcement was up against the confusing messages of medical marijuana, and counselors working with students who believe ‘it’s no big deal,'” she said.

Manninen wanted to provide resources and tools for practitioners and parents, and she believed a good starting point was eradicating myths about marijuana.

Speaker Dr. Mark Publicker, former medical director of Mercy Hospital’s substance abuse program and president of the Northern New England Society of Addiction Medicine, began his address with a clear message.

“Cannabis is a powerful psychotropic drug that is harmful for a regular brain,” he told those gathered, adding that the drug is “worse for the still developing brain of a teenager.”

Gina Brodsky, York High School substance abuse counselor, said she is seeing trends in abuse of the drug.

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Lewiston man gets 2 years for marijuana robbery

May 4th, 2012

Ricardo Hairston was also sentenced Thursday in Androscoggin County Superior Court to three years of probation upon release and barred from using alcohol, illegal drugs, firearms or dangerous weapons.

The Sun Journal ( ) reports the 20-year-old Hairston pleaded guilty last month to charges of robbery, burglary and theft.

Prosecutors say Hairston was one of three men who broke into a Lewiston couple’s home in September 2011. Two of them had guns. They took marijuana the victim was legally allowed to use for medical reasons, as well as electronics.

Hairston won a state championship in the triple jump at Edward Little High School.


Information from: Sun-Journal,

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