Maine took an important step toward enhancing patient access to medical marijuana on Friday, when officials awarded the state’s first operating licenses to six nonprofit dispensaries that will open across the state. Regulated dispensaries were added to Maine’s law in November, after nearly 60% of state voters approved an MPP-drafted initiative that made Maine the third medical marijuana state to allow dispensary licenses, and the first to do so through the ballot.
In related news, New Mexico, which was the first state to license dispensaries, just approved six more medical marijuana producers—bringing the state’s total number of licensed, nonprofit dispensaries to 11.
These establishments—when properly regulated—provide patients in need with safe, reliable and orderly access to their medicine, saving them the effort of growing their own while also sparing them from having to resort to the often dangerous and unpredictable black market.
Elsewhere, Rhode Island has been holding hearings on applicants for dispensary licenses there, while New Jersey and Washington, D.C. are considering similar plans. In Oregon, it seems increasingly likely that state voters will consider adding dispensaries to that state’s law this November.