Judge rules DHHS can impose fee on medical marijuana providers

March 16th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

ROCKLAND, Maine — A state judge has ruled that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services can impose fees on people who provide medicinal marijuana.

Justice Andrew Horton ruled Thursday in Knox County Superior Court that the fees on marijuana caregivers and dispensaries could be set by the agency rather than having to go through a formal rule making process and approval by the Maine Legislature.

The Washington man who challenged human services in court blasted the judge’s ruling.

“This means the government doesn’t have to follow the law. There is no justice when the rule makers can break the law,” John Stewart of Washington said on Saturday.

Stewart, who is a marijuana caregiver, filed a court appeal in November 2012 that argued that human services exceeded its authority by imposing fees of $900 in 2011 and $900 in 2012. The Washington resident also argued that the fee — which was $300 per patient — was excessive.

Stewart had asked the court to block the state agency from enforcing the marijuana caregiver registration fees. He also asked the court to order DHHS to return the $1,800 he had paid for the two prior years and asked that the agency pay his court and attorney fees.

Justice Horton found that the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act, adopted by the Legislature, allows the fees to be set as routine technical rules, which does not require the more formal process that includes subsequent votes by the Legislature.

“The intent of the Legislature could not be clearer,”

Article source: http://bangordailynews.com/2014/03/16/news/state/judge-rules-dhhs-can-impose-fee-on-medical-marijuana-providers/