Medical marijuana grows economy, advocates say in Portland

November 17th, 2012 by admin Leave a reply »

PORTLAND — For Paul McCarrier, organizer of the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine trade show on Saturday, it’s all about the economy.

Gesturing to the large conference room floor where several dozen exhibitors were selling their wares and services, McCarrier said the legalized use of marijuana to treat various ailments created an entrepreneurial bloom.

Almost all were small-business operators. Many were artisans, crafting glass pipes and T-shirts. Others were experts in the cultivation of the plant, providing advice and equipment such as grow lights, compost and greenhouses.

And, of course, there were the marijuana growers, who were well represented among the 150 or so who wandered through the trade show. Three years after a citizens initiative was passed and the state tweaked a law to create dispensaries and licenses for growers, there are 768 people cultivating the plant, six plants per patient for no more than five patients.

McCarrier compared the cottage industries that have grown around legalized medical marijuana in Maine to the many businesses that supply car manufacturers with specialized parts.

“It’s the economy of it,” he said. McCarrier noted that he had to leave his home in Belfast to find work in Portland, but thanks to being able to provide medical marijuana for patients, he was able to return and buy land and a home.

“Mainers are supplying Mainers with a needed product,” McCarrier said.

Several of those who attended and exhibited at the trade show speculated about what will happen in Maine after Colorado and Washington approved referendums legalizing the recreational use of

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