Advocates seek wider use for medical marijuana

December 7th, 2012 by admin Leave a reply »

8:56 PM

Advocates seek wider use for medical marijuana

By Eric Russell
Staff Writer

Medical marijuana advocates in Maine are promoting new legislation that would deregulate the state’s program further by allowing doctors to certify patients for any medical conditions.

Mark Dion

“We really feel like it’s the doctor’s right to certify patients without restriction,” said Paul McCarrier, legislative liaison for Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine.

Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, a strong supporter of Maine’s medical marijuana program, said he will sponsor the bill in the upcoming legislative session.

“We don’t tell doctors what they can and can’t do for any other type of medication. Why should we for medical marijuana?” Dion said.

Maine law allows doctors to certify patients only if they meet one of several specific conditions: cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), hepatitis C, Alzheimer’s disease, seizure disorders, severe muscle spasms and intractable pain.

The last three conditions were added as part of a 2009 law that also created the state’s dispensary program and allowed certified caregivers to grow marijuana for up to five patients.

Although Maine’s expanded medical marijuana program still is evolving, experts say the number of patients who have been certified has grown tremendously since the 2009 law went into effort. However, patients also no longer have to register with the state, which means there’s no way to know exactly how many people are using it, how many doctors are certifying patients for

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