Maine lawmakers trying to rein in large medical marijuana growers

January 11th, 2018 by admin Leave a reply »
Erica Haywood, a medical marijuana caregiver from Farmington, testifies at Wednesday’s hearing on medical marijuana bills before the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

AUGUSTA — State lawmakers want to overhaul Maine’s medical marijuana caregiver program.

On Wednesday, the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee held hearings on seven new medical cannabis bills, ranging from a plan to tax adult-use cannabis to pay for medical cannabis testing to a bill that would allow opioid addicts to qualify for medical cannabis certification.

Over and over again, lawmakers and even some caregivers admitted the network that was once based on a neighbor-helping-neighbor philosophy had exploded in size and scale, warranting a new way to license and regulate an increasingly sophisticated industry.

Some lawmakers, like Rep. Paul Chace of Durham, want to crack down on caregivers, allowing them to treat only five patients a month and requiring caregivers to sell to patients in their home or at their grow, outlawing retail shops, to clean up what he calls “the wild, wild West.”

“I’ve lived this life of receiving drugs, being responsible for the patients who take drugs, and I’ve got rules, a board of pharmacy,” said Chace, a pharmacist by trade. “But this program, I hate to say it, but it’s referred to as the wild, wild West, and we just can’t have that.”

The state’s medical law currently allows licensed caregivers to serve no more than five patients at any one time. But

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