Almost 10 years ago, the citizens of Maine approved 61% to 39% a statute to make marijuana legal for people with cancer, HIV/AIDs and other medical problems, provided they have a letter from their doctor indicating the treatment is legitimate. The Catch-22 here is that there is no legal way for those who are eligible for this treatment to actually obtain the marijuana. Pot in Maine is illegal. Period.
Bill Nemitz has an interesting column in today’s Portland Press Herald regarding a movement to put the “Maine Medical Marijuana Act” on this fall’s ballot. The legislation will, among other things, create “nonprofit dispensaries” around Maine to sell marijuana to eligible patients with special state-issued identification cards. The Maine Marijuana Policy Initiative has announced that it has the minimum 55,087-signature to do so.
Currently, California is the only state to have these so-called dispensaries. And despite the fact that they are legal, federal drug agents have raided these dispensaries more than once. Nemitz’ view on the matter is fairly clear when you look at his take on the choice us Mainers have to make: “Do we leave well enough alone until the federal government comes to its senses and explicitly declares medical-marijuana patients noncombatants in the anything-but-successful war on drugs? Or do we pass this law, give legitimate patients the weed they need to make life more bearable and, in the process, tell our friends in Washington, D.C., to wake up and smell the cannabis?”
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Read the entire column, “Maine’s cannabis contradiction,” by Bill Nemitz
Update: The marijuana referendum did, indeed, make it to Maine voters in November. And, it passed. Now, the state is scrambling to figure out how to handle the dispensaries that will be created as a result.