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Medical cannabis caregivers in Maine have raised concerns over proposed new rules to the state’s medical cannabis programme.
A public meeting took place on 26 September where caregivers said the proposed rules would make it more difficult to operate in the market in the face of rising bills and recreational market competition.
The new rules cover security requirements for retail stores such as fencing and video footage retention, as well as an expansion of the state’s ability to issue fines, which include up to $7,500 for each major registration violation affecting public safety; up to $3,000 for each major registration violation; and up to $3,000 for each minor.
Founder of cannabis retail dispensary West Paris Provision, Andelena Henderson, who supports disabled veterans and is a medical cannabis patient, stated: “The proposal is a direct attack on shops like mine and on medical patients.
“The OCP is hiding behind claims of being beneficial for the health and safety of Mainers when in reality it means to achieve their agenda, which is the death of medical cannabis in Maine.”
Under the rules, in order to be eligible for a Maine Medical Cannabis Card, patients will now need to undergo an in-person medical exam – currently done via phone call – which Henderson highlighted would be costly and is not covered by any medical insurance.
While the meeting chair said no changes had been made to these rules, one attending member of the public highlighted this requirement needed the wording to be more defined to include “via telephone or in person”.
Mark Barnett, Policy Director of the Maine Craft Cannabis Association, stated: “These changes overall are new obstacles to doing business.
“There are new obstacles to obtaining state-legal cannabis products. Our advocates have repeatedly sat down with OCP and we would love to do so again to discuss a collaborative approach to ensuring the success of our programmes, and again the past successes that we do sincerely appreciate and would like to continue with.
“Elements of this proposal will do seem like a step backwards, but we look forward to engaging with this office in a constructive way, during the upcoming legislative sessions and into the future.”
Public comment on the rules is open until 10 October. To watch the full meeting, please click here.