Archive for September, 2014

Suspects steal from 3 medical marijuana ops in 2 weeks – WCSH

September 30th, 2014

WINTERPORT, Maine (NECN) — Three medical marijuana growing operations in Maine have been targeted by thieves in the last two weeks. In one case, a grower was attacked and hospitalized with injuries. The crime spree is now raising questions about the security around grow sites and the safety of the people who farm them.

Catherine Lewis and her husband Glenn are two of the roughly 1500 licensed medical marijuana growers in Maine. They said the recent crimes against growers in Winterport, Standish and Lewiston have made them nervous.

“It makes me more than nervous,” said Catherine Lewis. “It strikes fear in my heart, especially if you have a family.”

In Winterport, State Police said three men made off with armfuls of mature plants by impersonating law enforcement officers. In Standish, a grower was hospitalized after police said two men, Clyde Humiston of Portland and Justin Vadas of Gray, attacked him and sprayed him with pepper spray in an attempt to steal his plants. Police said the crimes point to Maine’s substance abuse problem and the fact that there’s a market for high quality marijuana.

“My advice is the same as anyone with prescribed narcotics. You need to keep it locked up and out of view and tell and let very few people know you’re in possession of it,” said Lt. Aaron Hayden with the Maine State Police.

The Lewises said they already have security cameras, locks

Article source:

Maine State Police Seek Help in Finding Medical Marijuana Thieves

September 30th, 2014

WINTERPORT – Maine –  Maine State Police are looking for the public’s help in identifying three men involved in an armed robbery of medical marijuana plants last week in the town of Winterport.

Authorities say the three men were wearing clothing impersonating members of law enforcement when they entered the property on Sunday, Sept. 21, at about 7 a.m. Police are not disclosing the location of the property.  

Authorities say the clothing – a “SWAT”-style vest and a shirt that says “Sheriff” on the front – can be easily obtained online. One of the men was armed with what authorities believe is a semi-automatic handgun. Surveillance cameras on the property showed photos of two of the three men.

State Public Safety Department officials say the homeowner verbally confronted the intruders and the three fled with an armful of mature marijuana plants.

No shots were fired, and no one was injured.

Authorities are asking anyone with information about the identity of the robbers to contact the Maine State Police in Augusta.

Article source:

Maine police searching for fake cops after marijuana robbery

September 30th, 2014

AUGUSTA Maine (Reuters) – Police are searching for three armed men who dressed as law enforcement officers to steal medical marijuana plants from a licensed grower in the small central Maine town of Winterport.

Wearing outfits bearing a ‘sheriff’ insignia, American flag patches and tactical vests with the ‘SWAT’ logo, which real police said were widely sold online, normally to buyers seeking Halloween costumes, the three men stormed the grower’s backyard garden on Sunday and were caught on surveillance video.

The trio was captured on video frantically fleeing with an armful of mature marijuana plants.

The owner of the plants confronted them, but no shots were fired, and no one was injured, according to police reports.

Two of the men are clearly identifiable in the video, but police say they have yet to track down the suspects in the nearly 48 hours since the heist.

“It was pretty brazen, that’s for sure,” said police spokesman Steve McCausland, who said Tuesday police were still chasing down various leads.

Maine is one of 23 states, plus the District of Columbia, to legalize medicinal use of marijuana to treat certain debilitating or chronic diseases.

Portland, Maine’s largest city, last year voted to stop punishing adults for possessing small quantities of recreational marijuana.

Several other southern Maine towns, including South Portland, York and Lewiston are poised to vote on similar ordinances in November.

(Editing by Scott Malone; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Article source:

Police impersonators rob Winterport man of medical marijuana

September 29th, 2014

Police are looking for three men who disguised themselves as law enforcement officers while robbing a Winterport man of his medical marijuana plants at gunpoint.

The three men entered the property wearing clothing that included a SWAT-style vest and a shirt that said “sheriff’ on the front, said Department of Public Safety Spokesman Steve McCausland. Surveillance equipment captured clear images of at least two of the men, one of whom is seen pointing what is believed to be a semi-automatic handgun, McCausland said.

Additional Images

Surveillance footage from the Winterport pot theft.Surveillance footage from the Winterport pot theft.

Surveillance footage from the Winterport pot theft.Surveillance footage from the Winterport pot theft.

“The homeowner confronted the intruders verbally and the three fled the property with an armful of mature marijuana plants,” McCausland said.

No shots were fired and nobody was injured, he said.

Police are not disclosing the exact location of the alleged robbery, other than to say it occurred in Winterport, which lies between Hampden and Bucksport.

McCausland said the type of clothing the men wore is “easily obtainable online.”

McCausland asked anyone with information to call state police at 624-7076 and ask for either Trooper Elisha Fowlie or Trooper Sarah Ferland.

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our
accuracy form.

Send questions/comments to the editors.

Article source:

Marijuana doc reprimanded in Maine

September 26th, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A doctor who held a marijuana clinic at a hotel and failed to adequately document examinations has been reprimanded by the board that licenses physicians in Maine.

The board announced Monday that Dr. William Ortiz accepted a consent agreement in which he’s paying a $2,000 fine and reimbursing the Board of Licensure in Medicine $1,412 for its investigation.

The board said Ortiz saw 59 patients during a “medical seminar” at an Orono hotel in March 2013 but that there was no documentation of an exam for 44 of them. It also said he kept odd hours, including 3 a.m. appointments.

Ortiz, who has been licensed in Maine since 2012, agreed not to engage in the conduct in the future. Ortiz’s practice has offices in Caribou, Maine, and in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Article source:

Forum to focus on pot policy in Maine

September 25th, 2014

SANFORD — Partners for Healthier Communities and Strategies for a Stronger Sanford, both members of the Sanford Strong Coalition, will host a public forum, “Marijuana Policy in Maine: The Impact on Public Health and Youth,” on Tuesday, Oct. 7, at the Nasson Community Center’s Little Theater at 457 Main Street from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

The forum is open to the public and registration is not necessary.

The forum will share timely information about the health impacts of marijuana and explore how public policy has influenced the drug’s availability and use in Maine. The Maine Medical Marijuana Program will be explained and participants will be able to get questions answered regarding this program.

The forum will feature nationally known addiction expert Mark Publicker, MD, and Ms. Marietta D’Agostino, a state regulator of medical marijuana in Maine.

“While changes in marijuana policy and legal status are gaining attention, little is being said about the impact these shifts have had or will have on public health, especially on the well-being of our youth,” the coalition stated in a news release. “The fact is that marijuana use keeps teens from doing their best at school, work, and in learning new skills. Because of the problems with attention, learning, and memory that accompany marijuana use during adolescence, teens who use suffer the negative effects on academic performance and possible job prospects. Perhaps even more startling is the link between mental illness and marijuana use: teens who use marijuana weekly or more is at double the

Article source:

School board to Lewiston voters: Don’t legalize marijuana

September 24th, 2014

Lewiston’s School Committee has voted to oppose an upcoming marijuana legalization vote in the city, saying it could lead to more drug use by teens.

“(Marijuana) is already pervasive. We don’t think we need to make it available at every mom-and-pop convenience store,” Lewiston School Committee Chairman James Handy said Tuesday. Lewiston’s superintendent said school officials are having to discipline more students for bringing marijuana to city schools.



The committee adopted the resolution Monday, six weeks before Nov. 4 referendums in Lewiston and South Portland on whether it should be legal in those cities for adults to possess small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. The committee’s stand is similar to a vote in July by the South Portland City Council encouraging voters to reject marijuana legalization.

Legalization advocates also have been trying to get the question on the ballot in York, but a judge last week backed the town’s argument that the referendum is not lawful because marijuana is illegal under state and federal law and the drug cannot simply be made legal at the town level. The Marijuana Policy Project, which proposed the ordinances in all three communities, was still considering Tuesday whether to appeal the court’s ruling.

The stands by Lewiston’s school board, South Portland’s City Council and York’s Board of Selectmen show that the legalization movement is facing widening opposition as it moves beyond Portland toward a potential statewide referendum in 2016.

Portland voters overwhelmingly approved a similar legalization ordinance in 2013 after

Article source:

OUR OPINION: Pot referendum would put town’s voters on the record

September 23rd, 2014

Marijuana’s legal status is one of the fastest-moving issues in American politics. Once there was near consensus that it was a dangerous drug, with only 12 percent favoring its legalization, according to a 1969 Gallup Poll.

When the question was asked last year, 58 percent said the prohibition against recreational marijuana use should be lifted.

Additional Images

York residents deserve a chance to put their views about marijuana on the record, and the rest of Maine would benefit from hearing what they have to say.

Does that mean that the law should change? Not necessarily, but it does indicate that public opinion is shifting rapidly and that voters appear to be out in front of their leaders.

It is time for a debate of this issue, and one of the ways that happens in Maine is through the referendum process. The town of York is missing an opportunity to make its voice heard.

Marijuana legalization activists circulated petitions gathering 100 signatures to put the question before the voters in November. The Board of Selectmen voted 3-2 against putting it on the ballot. The activists collected an additional 767 signatures on a separate petition, and got the same result from the board.

Last week, the issue came before a judge, who ruled with the town, making the observation that marijuana is not regulated by local ordinance and still would be illegal in town if the referendum passed.

Justice Paul Fritzsche was right, but his ruling Friday misses the point.

Though municipal marijuana initiatives can’t change state and

Article source:

Kennebec Journal Sept. 22 police log

September 23rd, 2014


Wednesday, a 25-year-old man was charged with operating without a license during a traffic stop.

Saturday at 5:12 a.m., there was a report of an accident in the northbound lane of Interstate 95 near mile 122.

12:46 p.m., there was a traffic complaint in the northbound lane of Interstate 95 near mile 113.

Sunday at 8:36 a.m., there was a report of suspicious activity on Mount Vernon Avenue.

11:31 a.m., there was a traffic complaint on Stephen King Drive.

12:02 p.m., there was a report of suspicious activity on Water Street.

12:13 p.m., trespassing was reported on Medical Center Parkway.

2:04 p.m., there was a report of suspicious activity on Blair Road.

3:04 p.m., there was a complaint involving an all-terrain vehicle on Thompson Street.

3:25 p.m., shoplifting was reported on Stephen King Drive.

4:03 p.m., theft was reported on Drew Street.

4:16 p.m., there was a report of theft on Sherbrook Street.

4:32 p.m., disorderly conduct was reported on Mount Vernon Avenue.

5:40 p.m., there was a fireworks complaint on Boothby Street.

6:08 p.m., there was a report of a weapons violation on Washington Street.

6:32 p.m., Benjamin F. Rideout Jr., 38, of Chelsea, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving injury on Civic Center Drive.

7:11 p.m., there was an accident on Mount Vernon Avenue.

8:12 p.m., disorderly conduct was reported on Washington Street.

8:48 p.m., disorderly conduct was reported on Washington Street.

11:33 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Water Street.

Monday at 5:34 a.m., there

Article source:

Letter: Don’t take pot vote lightly in South Portland

September 22nd, 2014

A long-term medical study by the New Zealand and Australian governments concluded that 70 percent of teenagers who used marijuana never graduated from high school. Further, the Association for Addiction Professionals does not support any ballot initiative that supports the legalization of marijuana, concluding that ” no sound scientific studies support medical use of marijuana for treatment … or general medical use.” If the South Portland marijuana initiative passes, ideally, its supposed to keep marijuana out of the hands of those under 21. The same thinking applies to alcohol, and we know how well that works. Marijuana is not harmless and I hope that the residents of South Portland will think long and hard before they vote on this issue.

Tom DiPasqua

Article source: