Drug Law

Maine Looks to Expand Medical Marijuana Law

| by NORML

AUGUSTA, Maine: A proposal seeking to amend Maine's decade-old medical marijuana law will go before voters this November.

Sponsored by Maine Citizens for Patients' Rights, the Maine Marijuana Medical Act seeks to expand the state's medical marijuana law by establishing a confidential patient registry, and by allowing for the creation of non-profit state-licensed nonprofit dispensaries to assist in the distribution of medical cannabis to qualified patients.

The proposal's proponents gathered over 55,000 signatures from Maine voters to place the issue on the 2009 ballot.

Last week, members of the legislature's Health and Human Services Committee voted 8 to zero to reject the measure – electing instead to put it before a statewide vote.

In 1999, 61 percent of state voters approved the physician-supervised use of medical marijuana. However, the law did not establish a state identification registry for qualified patients, nor did it address regulating the distribution of medical marijuana.

"With close to 75% support on this issue here in state, we anticipate a quiet campaign with little opposition, initiative coordinator Jonathan Leavitt said. "Maine voters have already spoken loudly on this issue and we anticipate that after the vote in November, qualified patients will now have full access to their medicine and the necessary protections to utilize it.

To date a handful of states, including California and New Mexico, allow for the distribution of medical marijuana by third parties.

For more information, please visit: http://www.mainepatientsrights.org/. An interview with Jonathan Leavitt is available for download on the April 21 edition of the NORML Audio Stash at:
http://audio.norml.org/audio_stash/NORML_Daily_AudioStash_2009-04-21.mp3.