Archive for January, 2014

Medical Marijuana Workshop Planned For Laid Off Workers

January 24th, 2014

Rob Poindexter

Posted Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 at 4:31 pm.

Updated 7 hours ago

By

Medical marijuana caregivers want to help the people who were recently laid off from Lincoln Paper and Tissue. A boiler explosion and the loss of a major contract triggered the layoff of roughly 200 workers in December.

Members of the Medical Marijuana Caregivers Association of Maine have organized a free seminar to help teach those laid off workers how to become medical marijuana caregivers. A caregiver cultivates medical marijuana for up to five patients at a time.

Currently, there are about 1,300 licensed caregivers in Maine. But Paul McCarrier, Legislative Liaison for MMCAM, says the addition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the approved list of conditions that can be legally treated with marijuana the need for caregivers is on the rise.

“Well the workshop is going to teach them how to register to become a caregiver. What the regulations are, what they can expect to make for an income, how best to serve patients, some of the basic paperwork such as accounting, how to keep track of your patients, how to best serve them,” McCarrier said Thursday. “It’s going to last about two hours then we’ll have an hour for question and answer and be able to answer some more technical questions on the growing of the plant.”

The workshop is scheduled for:

* Monday, January 27, 6:00 p.m.

* First Congregational Church –

Article source: http://wabi.tv/2014/01/23/medical-marijuana-workshop-planned-laid-workers/

Lewiston holds substance-abuse forum as group targets pot referendum

January 23rd, 2014

Lewiston High School is hosting a community forum on substance abuse just days after news broke about marijuana-legalization advocates targeting the city as a place to push a ballot question.

Video: Click here to watch the report

The plans for the forum have been in the works for some time. Recent talk of legalizing marijuana only complicates the message at the school, officials said.

Poll: Do you think marijuana should be legalized statewide?

During 27 years as the substance abuse counselor for the Lewiston public schools, Vicky Wiegman said she’s seen a decrease in students using tobacco and alcohol, but an increase in students using marijuana.

“Marijuana has been a concern,” Wiegman said. “It’s a tough prevention climate right now around marijuana. There’s a lot of information bombarding teens. Certainly, medical-use marijuana has been a bit of a game-changers in terms of prevention and then certainly with the move towards legalization.”

Portland voters last fall opted to legalize small amounts of pot in the state’s biggest city. It was more of a symbolic vote because marijuana remains illegal at the state and federal levels.

Pot advocates said they hope to put similar ballot questions in front of voters in York, South Portland and Lewiston in November.

“Lewiston is the second-biggest city in the state, and primarily, we wanted to show that this isn’t something that’s unique to Portland,” said David Boyer of the Marijuana Policy Project.

Boyer said his group chose South Portland for its proximity to

Article source: http://www.wmtw.com/news/lewiston-holds-substanceabuse-forum-as-group-targets-pot-referendum/24076110

Windsor man pleads guilty in death of Augusta woman

January 23rd, 2014

January 8

Joshua Erskine says he was high on marijuana and prescription drugs when his Jeep plowed into Ruth Epperson nearly two years ago.

By Craig Crosby ccrosby@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — A Windsor man on Wednesday admitted he was under the influence of marijuana and narcotics when the Jeep he was driving struck and killed an Augusta woman walking on the sidewalk along North Belfast Avenue in 2012.

GUILTY: Joshua A. Erskine entered a guilty plea Wednesday at Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta to driving while under the influence of drugs when he struck Ruth Epperson, 81, in a sidewalk along North Belfast Avenue in Augusta in March 2012. Erskine is tentatively scheduled to be sentenced in February for the death of Epperson. Erskine is represented by attorney Pamela Ames, right.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

Joshua A. Erskine, 25, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and aggravated criminal operating under the influence in the death of 81-year-old Ruth Epperson. Erskine admitted in Kennebec County Superior Court that he was under the influence of Percocet and marijuana on March 30, 2012, when his Jeep hit Epperson as she was out for her daily walk. Epperson died from her injuries five days later.

Under a plea agreement with the Kennebec County district attorney’s office, Erskine faces a maximum of 15 years in prison with all but eight years suspended and four years probation. The agreement allows

Article source: http://www.kjonline.com/news/Windsor_man_pleads_guilty_in_death_of_Augusta_woman_.html?pagenum=full

Group eyes Lewiston for next stop in pot legalization

January 22nd, 2014

AUGUSTA — The Marijuana Policy Project will launch new efforts this fall to legalize recreational marijuana use in Lewiston, South Portland and York, a move that leaders in two of those cities said caught them to some degree off guard.

Leaders of the campaign to legalize marijuana in Portland, from left, David Boyer, David Marshall and Tom MacMillan celebrate their victory on Nov. 5.

While South Portland police Chief Edward Googins said he has suspected since election night in November 2013 that his city could be the next battleground in the legalization debate, officials in York and Lewiston said Tuesday that they were surprised by the news.

David Boyer, Maine’s political director for the national Marijuana Policy Project, said Tuesday that his organization will attempt to put a marijuana legalization question on ballots in all three municipalities through local citizen petitions. He said the question his group hopes to put to voters will be similar to a local ordinance passed in Portland last November that legalizes possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana by adults.

“Our point really is to keep the discussion going and to show that this wasn’t something just unique to Portland,” Boyer said. “We think that Mainers across the state believe that adults shouldn’t be punished for marijuana possession.”

Boyer

Article source: http://www.sunjournal.com/news/lewiston-auburn/2014/01/21/group-eyes-lewiston-next-stop-pot-legalization/1481779

French denies growing marijuana in Township 37; claims motorcycle club forced …

January 22nd, 2014

BANGOR, Maine — The Enfield man on trial accused of running a large marijuana farm in Township 37 worked by illegal aliens in 2009 took the stand Tuesday and denied knowing about or being involved in the operation.

Malcolm French, 52, admitted he paid for soil, wire fencing and other supplies in 2006 and 2007, supplies that others have testified were used at the pot plantation. He said on the ninth day of the trial in U.S. District Court that he was forced to order, purchase and arrange for the delivery of supplies to repay a motorcycle club for marijuana that was stolen two separate times from land in LaGrange where French has a hunting camp.

French, Rodney Russell, 50, of South Thomaston and Kendall Chase, 57, of Bradford face charges in connection with the marijuana plantation raided by agents with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency on Sept. 22, 2009.

Under direct examination, French said that in the fall of 2005, Michael G. Smith, 51, of Bradford told him that $35,000 worth of marijuana that had been growing on French’s land in LaGrange had been stolen. French testified that Smith told him at the hunting camp that the marijuana had belonged to the Red Patch motorcycle club.

French said he assumed Smith had connections to the club.

Smith, who has not been charged in connection with the case, is named on Chase’s witness list but no other defendant witness list. Chase’s attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor, said after court recessed Tuesday that he

Article source: http://bangordailynews.com/2014/01/21/news/down-east/prosecution-rests-in-township-37-trial-malcolm-french-among-defendants-to-testify/?ref=polbeat

Marijuana Policy Project looks to legalize pot in South Portland, York, Lewiston

January 21st, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Marijuana Policy Project will launch new efforts to legalize recreational marijuana use this fall in Lewiston, South Portland and York, a move that leaders in two of those cities said caught them to some degree off guard.

While South Portland Police Chief Edward Googins said he has suspected since election night in November 2013 that his city could be the next battleground in the legalization debate, officials in York and Lewiston said Tuesday that they were surprised by the news.

David Boyer, Maine’s political director for the national Marijuana Policy Project, said Tuesday that his organization will attempt to put a marijuana legalization question on ballots in all three municipalities through local citizen petitions. He said the question his group hopes to put to voters will be similar to a local ordinance passed in Portland last November that legalizes possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana by adults.

“Our point really is to keep the discussion going and to show that this wasn’t something just unique to Portland,” said Boyer. “We think that Mainers across the state believe that adults shouldn’t be punished for marijuana possession.”

Boyer said seeking legalization in York, South Portland and Lewiston is an effort to further gauge Mainers’ attitude toward lifting legal prohibitions against marijuana use and to force debate of the issue in this year’s gubernatorial and legislative election campaigns.

Boyer said he expects another attempt to legalize marijuana statewide in the Legislature next year —

Article source: http://bangordailynews.com/2014/01/21/politics/marijuana-policy-project-looks-to-legalize-pot-in-south-portland-york-lewiston/

Maine Morning Briefing: Weed, bears, right to work, Medicaid & The Strim

January 21st, 2014

Weed and bears: Interesting story out of Florida about how supporters of Republican Gov. Rick Scott are fretting over a potential medical marijuana referendum. The fear among conservatives in Tallahassee is that weed supporters will be a boon for Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts and help topple Scott.

It’s an interesting theory and one that raises questions about a possible bear-baiting referendum in Maine. As one political observer recently put it, the bear-baiting issue could draw out a lot of conservative-minded people who may not ordinarily vote. That’s not to say that all bear-baiting supporters are Republican, or vice versa, but it’s an interesting dynamic to watch this year.  

Right-to-work rumor: The LePage administration and some Republican lawmakers have tried and failed to pass a right-to-work bill on several occasions over the past three years. Two proposals died when Republicans held the majority in the Legislature between 2011 and 2012. Two more died last year when Democrats controlled the Legislature. 

Now there’s some speculation that the governor may give it another go. The buzz centers on some proposal rumored to be dubbed “workplace freedom,” or some such. It hasn’t materialized yet, but if it does it will likely touch off more rowdy rhetoric between conservatives and organized labor. 

It could also play into the 2014 legislative election since unions have become prolific spenders in legislative races in Maine and other states.

Katz gets VIP treatment (narrative written by PPH reporter Joe Lawlor): Democrats rolled out the red carpet for Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, last Thursday when the assistant

Article source: http://www.pressherald.com/blogs/capitolticker/241185271.html

Portland, Maine to Legalize Marijuana

January 20th, 2014

On Tuesday, November 5, 70 percent of Portland, Maine voted to legalize the possession of marijuana. The bill said that it was legal for anyone over the age of 21 to carry up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana while on private property. The law will go into effect on December 6.
The advocates for marijuana and the people of Portland claimed their victory at about 9:30 p.m., chanting “Yes on 1” and “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.”
The tally of votes came in at 9,921 for the legalization of possessing marijuana but it doesn’t give the people of Portland ways to buy the drug.
However, marijuana is still illegal under federal and state law and is only legal for medical use. The Portland law says that it is legal to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, not use the drug in public.
“Regardless of Tuesday’s vote, officers will continue to enforce state law, which says possessing as much as 2.5 ounces of marijuana can lead to a civil summons and fines of $350 to $1,000. Furnishing, selling or packaging the drug for sale can bring criminal charges,” said Police Chief Michael Sauschuck.
“While the people of Portland are free to express their views on marijuana or other topics of social importance, the marijuana ordinance of course does not override state or federal laws regulating the use, possession, furnishing and sale of marijuana,” said Maine Attorney General Janet Mills.
Portland is the first city on the East Coast

Article source: http://www.leprovoc.com/articles/2014/01/20/portland-maine-legalize-marijuana

Mainers using EBT cash in unusual places

January 19th, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine — They were at smoke shop ATMs when they used their welfare cards to withdraw cash. At race tracks. At tattoo parlors. Even at Disney World-area resorts in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

One example after another of apparent spending by Maine’s welfare recipients was contained in data released by the state last week.

Lawmakers immediately called it misuse. Abuse. Fraud.

But it can also be called something else: completely legal.

At the center of the controversy are Maine’s EBT cards — electronic benefit cards issued to the poor and loaded with money they qualify for, including TANF benefits (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, often informally called welfare).

Maine recently instituted rules prohibiting TANF recipients from withdrawing money or using the cards at certain places — specifically, no casinos, liquor stores or strip clubs.

However, under the rules, recipients are still allowed to buy whatever they want elsewhere, even if what they buy elsewhere is the same thing they would have bought in one of the prohibited places, including alcohol, cigarettes and lottery tickets.

In fact, a brochure for TANF recipients and the website that recipients use to access their accounts both make one thing clear: “Any item may be purchased using your cash benefit account.”

It’s an allowance that has been around as long as the TANF program itself.

Some say it’s time for that to end.

“Obviously, the public is outraged to think these abuses are going on and there has been no action here in this state Legislature to try and curb this growing problem,”

Article source: https://bangordailynews.com/2014/01/19/politics/mainers-using-ebt-cash-in-unusual-places/

Maine DHHS: Marijuana can’t be used for Tourette’s

January 16th, 2014

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ Maine public health officials have denied an Ellsworth man’s request to use marijuana legally to treat his Tourette’s syndrome.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services this week denied a request by Dr. Dustin Sulak to add Tourette’s syndrome to the list of qualifying medical conditions that marijuana use is allowed to treat.

Sulak said a denial letter signed by agency Commissioner Mary Mayhew arrived on Christmas Eve without any explanation for the decision.

Sulak and his patient, Peter Hasty, had testified in November that marijuana helped Hasty’s muscular tics caused by Tourette’s.

Hasty tells the Portland Press Herald  that marijuana allows him to function in society.

Studies that looked at the effectiveness of marijuana use to treat Tourette’s are inconclusive.

Article source: http://www.mpbn.net/Home/tabid/36/ctl/ViewItem/mid/5347/ItemId/31482/Default.aspx