Maine Medical Marijuana Patients Rush to Register with State

January 3rd, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

A new law that requires patients to register with the state in order to legally use medical marijuana has led to hundreds of applications for Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services. The law went into effect January 1, and the state has already received more than 400 applications – they are expecting to give out over 1,000 registration cards by the spring.

Medical marijuana is not new to Maine (voters approved the use of medical cannabis in 1999), however, while patients previously could obtain legal pot with a doctor’s prescription they now must apply for, and receive, a state registration card. The registration cards will cost patients $100 a year.

There are concerns about the flood of applications leading to delays in patients receiving their cards. The State Attorney General is advising police to check with the Department of Health if a patient does not have their card, as their application may still be pending.

Other patients are wary of registering with the state and hope the legislature will overturn the rule in 2011.

In addition, the new law allows eight medical cannabis dispensaries to open in the state. Previously patients could either grow their own medicine or obtain it from a designated caregiver. The dispensaries will provide a third option for patients and could lead to an increase in applications. However, the opening of the voter-approved dispensaries has been delayed and officials don’t expect the first to open until March or April 2011.


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