From Papermaking to Pot Growing: Job-Strapped Mainers Eye Alternatives

February 7th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

Organizers set up 40 folding chairs in a small art studio. And by 7:00 pm Monday night it was standing room only when nearly twice as many people as expected showed up.

“Our goal is to offer a free class on how to become a medical marijuana caregiver to any laid off millworker or any interested citizen,” says Paul McCarrier. “We just want to offer them a career in Maine’s largest growing industry.”

McCarrier represents the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine. He says state records show there are close to 1,300 licensed caregivers in Maine and an estimated 15,000 medical marijuana patients, some of whom grow cannabis for their own use.

Under state law, caregivers can only grow for up to five other people, although McCarrier and others are hoping to extend the limit.

“You can generally make – expect to make – anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 a year, depending on the patients that you’re serving and the use,” he says.

Susan Sharon: “How many caregivers do you think the state of Maine can support?”

Paul McCarrier: “I think the state of Maine can probably support anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 caregivers depending upon how many patients those caregivers take care of.”

Among those who showed up for the presentation was 61-year-old Ronald O’Hara of Lincoln. He says he hasn’t smoked pot in more than 40 years and doesn’t know anything about medical marijuana except what he’s read in the paper.

But, a few weeks

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