New medical marijuana rules criticized as burdensome, self-defeating

August 14th, 2012 by admin Leave a reply »

1:00 AM

New medical marijuana rules criticized as burdensome, self-defeating

By Susan McMillan
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995, Falmouth resident Kelly Irwin found that marijuana worked better to treat her pain, fatigue and nausea far better than the opiates she was prescribed.

Irwin has successfully grown her own medical marijuana, but she worries she won’t be able to do that anymore if legislators approve new regulations on cultivation.

She was one of dozens patients, caregivers and advocates who packed a legislative committee room to overflowing on Monday to complain about proposed requirements for 8-foot fences, motion-activated floodlights, property setbacks and vegetative plant limits.

“My current growing location meets the intention of the law in that I grow my marijuana on a secure and private deck, which is 12 feet off the ground, with no outdoor stair access,” Irwin said. “The deck’s location obscures the plants from view. The private deck’s location is the only possibility for me because of my mobility issues.”

The patients and caregivers said the proposed rules would limit access to medical marijuana for low-income patients and could actually undermine security for growers.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which has proposed the rules, will accept public comments on the proposed rules until Aug. 23.

Regulations must be updated following last year’s passage of L.D. 1296, a bill that liberalized medical marijuana laws, most notably by removing the requirement that patients must register with the state.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea,

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