As we reported a couple of months back, Governor John Baldacci has signed a medical cannabis bill, setting up a task force to investigate the the creation of eight cannabis dispensaries as well as a registry of legal marijuana users. Yesterday, state officials got down to the nitty-gritty of defining the rules of Maine’s Medical Marijuana Law – and it wasn’t easy.
Enrolling as a Medical Marijuana Patient in Maine
It costs patients $100 to register with the state, while the authorized caregiver must pay $300 per patient per year. Some patients believe these fees are too high and prevent them from becoming legal medical weed users.
One Washington medical cannabis caregiver and patient says the fees are prohibitive, “I have kids, I have a mortgage, I have bills, I have to pay taxes. I have a very limited income. So the $100, to basically buy permission to be unhealthy enough to need medicine, is a little onerous. “And as a caregiver to other patients, the fact that I have to pay $300 to grow their medicine — they’ve already paid $100 for the right to be sick enough to deserve to have medicine that they themselves could grow.”
Marijuana Patients’ Confidentiality
Jonathan Leavitt is the executive director of the Maine Marijuana Policy Initiative, and he predicts conflict over confidentiality issues because, “if a patient or caregiver gets arrested, in order for them to prove their innocence, they’re going to have to produce paperwork that has confidential patient information.” He adds that, “confusion among medical marijuana users and some police officers is resulting in unnecessary arrests.” Not all caregivers understand the paperwork involved and haven’t got the documentation they need from their patients, meaning that, once the registry comes into use, they will be risking criminal prosecution.
Mainers must submit any written comments about the state marijuana registration system by June 17 – that’s next Thursday.