Mainers rush for state’s OK to use medical pot

January 2nd, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

Posted: January 2
Updated: Today at 8:29 PM

Mainers rush for state’s OK to use medical pot

Patients had inundated the state with applications for registration cards before the mandate took effect.

By John Richardson
Staff Writer

More than 400 Mainers have applied to be medical marijuana patients under a state law that took effect Saturday.

Applications flooded into the Maine Department of Health and Human Services in the final days and weeks of 2010, and hundreds more are expected in the next several weeks. Officials say they expect to give registration cards to 1,200 or more patients by the time the initial rush is over this spring.

Starting Jan. 1, Mainers must be registered with the state before legally using marijuana to ease the symptoms of cancer, AIDS and other conditions. For the past decade, patients needed only a doctor’s authorization.

“Everybody’s coming in at the last minute. We’ve been hammered,” said Catherine Cobb, director of licensing and regulatory services for the department.

While the registration requirement is taking effect on schedule, meeting another goal of the state’s expanded medical marijuana law is taking a little longer than expected.

The law authorized a network of

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