Maine lawmakers OK some pesticide use on medical pot

June 14th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

4:31 PM

Maine lawmakers OK some pesticide use on medical pot

By Michael Shepherd
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Medical marijuana dispensaries would be allowed to treat plants with certain low-risk pesticides if a bill enacted by the Maine Legislature on Friday makes it into law.

Maine lawmakers have approved the use of low-risk pesticides on medical marijuana.

Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal

The bill, L.D. 1531, an emergency measure sponsored by Sen. Thomas Saviello, R-Wilton, a former chairman of the Maine Board of Pesticides Control, passed the House of Representatives without a roll-call vote on Friday. The Senate passed it on Thursday.

It would take effect as soon as Gov. Paul LePage, whose administration supports the bill, signs it.

Saviello’s bill would narrow currently broad Department of Health and Human Services rules that haven’t allowed dispensaries to treat marijuana plants with any pesticide, even a natural substance such as vegetable oil.

“Having anything in your arsenal is better than having nothing,” said Glenn Peterson, owner of Canuvo, a dispensary in Biddeford. “It’s a good thing.”

The department supports the bill, even though the loophole came into play publicly after its March investigation of the Wellness Connection of Maine, the nonprofit operator of four of Maine’s eight dispensaries, in Portland, Hallowell, Thomaston and Brewer.

That investigation found 20 violations of state law and program rules at Wellness Connection, from pesticide use to security breaches to a managerial conflict of

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