Medical marijuana: Hundreds in Maine apply to grow, state program takes in …

August 24th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

AUGUSTA, Maine — An annual report by the Department of Health and Human Services released Thursday shows the medical marijuana program has been growing in Maine and is in the midst of a reorganization.

Some 575 people applied to the state last year to grow medical marijuana — 521 of those new applications. The state’s eight medical marijuana dispensaries employed 84 people.

The Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program took in $612,370 in fees and spent considerably less: $466,028.

The report was due to the Legislature in April, by statute. DHHS spokesman John Martins said it had been held up by staff changes and the review process.

Maine has allowed the use of medical marijuana since 1999 on a grow-your-own basis and set up the current nonprofit dispensary system with a second statewide referendum in 2009.

Though there are no hard figures, it’s estimated 13,000 patients use it here.

Last year, Cumberland County had the highest number of medical marijuana patients voluntarily register with the state (255), followed by Kennebec (238), York (230) and Androscoggin (123).

Cumberland County also had the most physicians with 14 writing patient certifications for medicinal marijuana. Sixty-eight doctors across the state wrote at least one.

The report mentions a statewide conference this year that includes physicians and law enforcement, but Martins said it hadn’t been planned yet.

Also included:

–1,455 patients have voluntarily registered with the state; 1,311 patients asked someone to grow medicinal marijuana on their behalf.

–The number of employees ranged from 45 at the Wellness Connections’ four dispensaries to seven at Safe Alternatives

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