Marijuana in Maine: The patients, the politics, the future

July 21st, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

“Patrick” eats half a marijuana-laced brownie every night to keep away chronic diabetic nerve pain.

The Sabattus man has a note from his doctor and buys from the local dispensary.

Two years ago, “Barbie” in Peru secretly swapped legal prescription painkillers for marijuana for her chronic neck pain, growing one or two plants on the sly.

In May, she got a license to grow. She’s legit and no longer afraid of getting busted, but now worries about someone breaking in and stealing her plants.

“Nick,” of Nobleboro, is waiting for the crop in his $2,500, temperature-controlled grow room to mature so he can wean himself off prescription narcotics.

“[Marijuana’s] effects are instantaneous, and it’s also very short-lived,” he said. “If I take oxycodone and morphine, I’m along for the ride for the next six hours, whether I want it or not.”

Four years after voters set in motion the mechanics of a medical marijuana law, an estimated 13,000 patients use it in Maine.

And numbers are growing.

Last year, at least 68 Maine physicians wrote recommendations for medical marijuana, and businesses selling it racked up $5 million in sales, blowing the doors off projections.

The Legislature this session passed six of eight proposed medical marijuana bills, two as emergencies.

And it’s not just about medical marijuana. A move to legalize marijuana for all Maine adults by sending the issue to referendum failed by only a handful of votes in the House this session. Advocates say they’ll collect 57,000 signatures to push a statewide referendum in 2016 if one more legislative

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