Maine Swamped with Medical Marijuana Applications

January 11th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

State officials who are swamped by applications say people have a growing comfort level with the medical marijuana state registry that the law created. John Thiele manages the registry, and has been meeting with caregivers and patients over the last few months.

“When I first took this position in the beginning of August, there was a lot of fear in coming out to the state about using marijuana,” Theile says. “And I think we’ve done a good job of eradicating thet fear that somehow or other we were not going to be able to protect people’s confidentiality.”

Thiele notes that there are just three people, including himself, who have access to the registry. But because there are so few of them–and since one is a part-timer–it’s taking twice as long to process applications, about 10 business days. And that’s only if the paperwork and registration fees are all ready to go.

Patients also face another delay. The first of eight dispensaries to launch in Maine isn’t scheduled to open until the end of March in Auburn. Others won’t open until closer to the end of the year. Thiele says dispensaries have had trouble finding host communities.

“Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of moratoriums by communities,” he says. “This is a new program and a lot of people are worried, and getting the dispensaries up and running hasn’t been as quick as we had hoped it was possible.”

Thiele says as a result, about half of the 350 applicants registered so

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