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Medical Marijuana Caregiver - Maine

SUMMARY:  On November 2, 1999, sixty-one percent (61%) of Maine voters approved Question 2 and the law became effective on December 22, 1999.  Question 2 removed Maine state-level criminal penalties for the possession, use and cultivation of marijuana by Patients who have an oral or written "professional opinion" from their doctors stating that he or she "might benefit from the medical use of marijuana."  People diagnosed with the following medical conditions are legally protected from prosecution of criminal charges related to marijuana:  epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures), glaucoma, multiple sclerosis (and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity) and nausea or vomiting which is the result of AIDS treatment or cancer chemotherapy.  Maine's law states that medical marijuana Patients (or their Primary Caregivers) may legally possess up to one and one-quarter (1 1/4) ounces of useable marijuana and that they can grow up to six (6) marijuana plants, only three (3) of which may be mature.  Those medical marijuana Patients who possess marijuana in amounts greater than allowed by Maine's law are able to utilize a "simple defense" to any criminal charge of marijuana possession, use or cultivation.  Maine's medical marijuana law does not provide for the establishment of a state-run medical marijuana Patient registry.

RECIPROCITY:   Maine's medical marijuana law does provide qualified medical marijuana Patients visiting from other medical-use states (who possess a valid registry identification card or its equivalent) to engage in activities authorized for the registered Patient (the use of medical marijuana) for thirty (30) days after entering the State of Maine and the law does not require them to have a Maine registry identification card..  However, visiting qualified medical marijuana Patients are not allowed to obtain marijuana for medical use while in the State of Maine.  See Me. Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, 2423-D (2010).

AMENDMENTS:  On April 2, 2002, Maine's medical marijuana law was amended via Senate Bill 611 to increase the amount of useable medical marijuana a qualified Patient may possess from one and one-quarter (1 1/4) ounces to two and one-half (2 1/2) ounces.  On November 3, 2009, Question 5 was approved by 59 percent (59%) of Maine voters and mandated the Maine Department of Health to enact rules and regulations within one hundred twenty (120) days to establish a confidential medical marijuana Patient registry and identification card system.  It also allowed for the dispensing of medicinal marijuana through state-licensed,  non-profit dispensaries.  The law expanded the qualifying illnesses for which a physician may recommend medical cannabis to a Patient to include:  "A. cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn's disease, agitation of Alzheimer's disease, nail-patella syndrome or the treatment of these conditions; B. a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces intractable pain, which is pain that has not responded to ordinary medical or surgical measures for more than 6 months; C. a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis; or D. any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the department as provided." 

ADDITIONAL AMENDMENTS:  On April 9, 2010, LD 1811 was signed into law  and authorized the creation of up to eight (8) non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries, one (1) for each of Maine's public health districts, the licensing of which will be overseen by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.  The law allowed dispensaries to legally "acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, sell, supply or dispense marijuana or related supplies and educational materials" to state-authorized medical marijuana Patients.  

The law also requires that authorized medical marijuana Patients join a confidential state registry and it says that cardholding medical marijuana Patients will not be subject to "arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner, including but not limited to a civil penalty or disciplinary action by any business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, or denied any right or privilege," for the possession, use or cultivation of medical marijuana in amounts allowed by law (two and one-half (2 1/2) ounces and/or six (6)  plants). 

On July 24, 2011, LD 1296 was signed into law and eliminated the 2010 legislative mandate requiring medical marijuana Patients to be registered with the state of Maine in order to be legally protected under the state's medical marijuana law.  It also eliminated the requirement that a physician must disclose a Patient's specific medical condition to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.  Also, LD 1296 limited the ability of law enforcement agencies to seize marijuana from lawful medical marijuana Patients and mandated that any such seized property must be returned within seven (7) days.  This amendment was to have taken effect approximately ninety (90) days after it was signed into law. 

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES:  The statutes governing Maine's medical marijuana policy are Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 22, 2383-B(5), (6) (1999) (amended 2001) and Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 22, 2383-B(3)(e) (amended 2001) (increasing amount of marijuana a patient may posses to two and one-half ounces).

CAREGIVERS:  Maine's medical marijuana program allows for the appointment of a Primary Caregiver as the person providing care for the registered Patient.  This Primary Caregiver must be at least 21 years old and the Caregiver can never have been convicted of a drug offense which would disqualify them.  Medical marijuana Patients can name one (1) or two (2) Primary Caregivers, but only one (1) is legally allowed to grow marijuana for the  registered Patient.  Maine's medical marijuana statute regarding the appointment of Caregivers is Me. Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, 2422; 2425 (2010).

STATE REGULATIONS: Statement of Maine's Medicinal Marijuana Law [PDF]

CONTACT INFORMATION:  The State of Maine makes brochures available which outline its medical marijuana law from  Maine Citizens for Patients Rights, PO Box 1074, Lewiston, ME 04243.

 

Maine Medical Marijuana Statistics:

Year Law Passed

Voter Percentage

Patient Fee

Approved Patients 2011

Possession Limit

Accepts other State Cards

1999

61%

$100/$75

1,126

2.5 oz usable, 6 plants

Yes

 

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