State officials open investigation of medical marijuana supplier

March 8th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

7:32 PM

State officials open investigation of medical marijuana supplier

By Michael Shepherd
State House Bureau

The Auburn cultivation center supplying Maine’s largest medical marijuana dispensary operator is under investigation by state officials, but the state won’t say why.

Department of Health and Human Services spokesman John Martins said Friday the agency’s Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services is investigating the Wellness Connection of Maine center, which grows marijuana for its four dispensaries in Portland, Hallowell, Thomaston and Brewer.

Martins said in an email that, “there have been no investigations of this type previously” in Maine’s medical marijuana business.

Dispensaries must abide by a host of state-issued cultivation rules. For example, pesticide use is prohibited and dispensaries are limited to six mature plants for a each patient.

The state’s first dispensary opened in 2011 in Aroostook County. Wellness Connection opened its Thomaston location in September 2011, followed by its Hallowell location in January 2012, the Portland dispensary in March and the Brewer dispensary in May.

Citing “an open and active investigation” that began earlier this week in Auburn, Martins said he couldn’t comment further on the matter, including whether law enforcement is involved.

Lt. Tim Cougle of the Auburn Police Department said his agency’s presence was requested by state officials during the investigation, but his department itself wasn’t investigating. Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police, said he didn’t know of any agency involvement.

Becky DeKeuster, Wellness Connection’s executive director, described the DHHS action as “a comprehensive regulatory inspection” of the

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