Maine caregivers divided on proposals for medical marijuana

March 12th, 2018 by admin Leave a reply »

A new medical cannabis reform bill is drawing mixed reviews from Maine’s caregiver network, the 3,000-strong mom-and-pop side of the state’s $50 million industry.

“There’s good stuff and there’s bad stuff,” said Dawson Julia, a caregiver who treats hundreds of patients out of his Unity shop. “It’s a big bill, but there’s a lot more good than bad. It would improve patient access and help caregivers expand their businesses. But some of the bad, it could be pretty bad, like requiring an engineer to sign off on extraction labs and giving municipalities a lot of opportunities to harass a little guy. It’s a compromise.”

The Health and Human Services Committee approved the omnibus reform bill 11-2 on Tuesday. Committee analysts are crafting the final wording of the bill now and will bring it back to the committee in several weeks for a final language review. Another set of analysts will come forward with a fiscal note that will predict how much it would cost to implement the bill and how much revenue it might generate. At that point, the bill goes to the full Legislature for a vote.

Upon legislative approval, the bill would go to Gov. Paul LePage for consideration. The state’s medical marijuana program has come under fire from the Republican governor and Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Ricker Hamilton, whose agency reluctantly oversees the medical marijuana program. They say that the program lacks oversight, administrative authority and resources. LePage has called for

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