State’s chief medical marijuana overseer says he’s been fired

November 12th, 2012 by admin Leave a reply »

9:23 PM

State’s chief medical marijuana overseer says he’s been fired

John Thiele may have been terminated for being ‘too friendly’ to medical marijuana interests

By Eric Russell
Staff Writer

The head of Maine’s medical marijuana program announced at a public meeting that he has been terminated from his position, according to two people who attended the meeting.

John Thiele, who worked in the Department of Health and Human Services‘ Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services, broke the news Friday at a Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine event, in advance of the group’s Home Grown Maine exposition Saturday in Portland.

“This is not good news for Maine’s medical marijuana program,” said Chris Kenoyer, a licensed caregiver who attended the meeting. Kenoyer said Thiele was “very responsive and respectful” and was the go-to person for questions about state laws on the subject.

Rep. Mark Dion, who worked with Thiele both as a lawmaker and as an attorney who represents medical marijuana caregivers, confirmed that Thiele had been let go.

“I had actually heard it in the community sometime in the last week,” the Portland Democrat said Sunday. “I always thought he was helpful, prompt. I was surprised.”

Neither Thiele nor his boss, DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew, returned calls for comment Sunday. The department has not announced Thiele’s dismissal.

Kenoyer said the reason Thiele gave for his dismissal on Friday was that he had become “too friendly with patients and caregivers.”

Dion characterized things slightly differently: “There was thought that he was acting more as

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