Medicinal Pot Issue Lingers in Maine
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Medicinal Pot Issue Lingers in Maine
Posted by CN Staff on October 24, 2009 at 05:58:46 PT
Nashua Telegraph
Source: By Clarke Canfield, The Associated Press
Portland, Maine -- A decade ago, Maine voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum allowing people to legally possess marijuana for medicinal purposes. On Nov. 3, voters will decide whether to allow dispensaries from which the drug could be distributed to patients. Under the current law, doctors in Maine can recommend pot to patients with certain debilitating conditions such as glaucoma, cancer and AIDS. But many of those patients don’t have a legal way to obtain marijuana, said Jonathan Leavitt, coordinator of the Maine Citizens for Patients’ Rights, which is spearheading the referendum.
“This is what was lacking in the last law,” Leavitt said. But Question 5 on the ballot is drawing opposition from law enforcement and drug prevention officials. Guy Cousins, director of the Maine Office of Substance Abuse, said setting up a distribution network would only increase the availability of marijuana to people not authorized to have it. Compounding the matter, he said, is the lack of control over the dosage and potency of the pot that’s being distributed. “We have tremendous compassion for people with terminal illnesses who are seeking to use this as alternative medication,” Cousins said. “The concern is a larger public safety and public health issue.” In 1999, Mainers by a 61-39 margin approved a referendum to legalize the medical use of marijuana. Maine is one of 14 states with medical marijuana laws on the books. In Maine, people are allowed to possess up to 2½ ounces of marijuana and up to six marijuana plants if a doctor recommends that it would help with their sickness. But most patients don’t grow their own plants, forcing them to get the drug illegally from dealers or other patients, said 31-year-old Seamus Maguire, a medical-marijuana user from Portland who suffers from a rare form of lymphoma. The new law will give sick people a legal and convenient way to buy marijuana, Maguire said. “It’s horrible that people that need it as medicine are unable to get it without worrying about going to jail,” Maguire said. If the referendum is approved, dispensaries would have to operate as nonprofits and couldn’t be within 500 feet of schools. They would be regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services. They might operate in storefronts, in office parks or under the roofs of existing nonprofit organizations that already provide care for sick people, Leavitt said. Besides allowing for dispensaries, Question 5 would create voluntary ID cards for people who are allowed to legally possess marijuana and expand the medical conditions under which people could be prescribed the herb. The law now allows doctors to recommend marijuana for people who have persistent nausea, vomiting, wasting syndrome or loss of appetite because of AIDS or chemotherapy or radiation treatment used for cancer; who have heightened pressure on their eyes because of glaucoma; who have epileptic seizures; or who have persistent muscle spasms from a disease such as multiple sclerosis. The new law would expand the availability of marijuana to people to other conditions, including hepatitis C, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Crohn’s disease and Alzheimer’s. The Maine Chiefs of Police Association voted 32-0 at a recent board meeting to oppose the law, said Executive Director Robert Schwartz. Law officers are concerned the referendum, as currently written, does not provide the state enough control over who could dispense marijuana and where it could be distributed, he said. Marijuana dispensaries, he said, should be subject to the same strict controls as pharmacies. “It just appears there are a lot of issues we aren’t prepared to deal with at this point,” Schwartz said. Schwartz said Maine police are keeping an eye on California, which has thousands of pot dispensaries, many that advertise freely and offer daily specials and discount coupons. Prosecutors in Los Angeles, which has more than 800 marijuana dispensaries, have vowed to crack down on stores that are selling to people who don’t qualify for medicinal marijuana. Source: Nashua Telegraph, The (Nashua, NH)Author: Clarke Canfield, The Associated Press Published: Saturday, October 24, 2009Copyright: 2009 Telegraph Publishing CompanyContact: letters nashuatelegraph.comWebsite: http://www.nashuatelegraph.comURL: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on October 24, 2009 at 12:05:29 PT
Storm Crow 
Love you too! Thank you. Sometimes I am trying to do too much at one time. I bounce here and then I bounce there. I'm getting too old for that nonsense! LOL!
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Comment #9 posted by Storm Crow on October 24, 2009 at 11:53:26 PT
If you didn't make a mistake now and then, you'd be so good, you'd be scary! Love ya!
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on October 24, 2009 at 11:25:37 PT
It's a mistake I made at the top of the page. I'm glad you didn't notice it. I try hard to not make mistakes but we had company from out of state coming and I was scattered brained.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on October 24, 2009 at 10:20:19 PT
Welcome to C-News, Anna J.
FoM. I don't understand what you mean about a "Mistake".
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on October 24, 2009 at 10:18:14 PT
It IS horrible. Truly horrible.
"“It’s horrible that people that need it as medicine are unable to get it without worrying about going to jail,” Maguire said." 
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on October 24, 2009 at 10:15:30 PT
"Baby Snickers"
Linda! I think Runruff is into the Halloween candy!
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 24, 2009 at 09:07:45 PT
Anna J 
Welcome to CNews and thank you very much. I try hard but sometimes I really goof up.
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Comment #3 posted by Anna J on October 24, 2009 at 08:49:04 PT:
Just a note
No apology needed FOM all information is useful. We need to know the mindset of our opposition. You do a great service to our cause and I am thankful for you.GOD bless
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 24, 2009 at 06:38:48 PT
Just a Note
Sorry that I made a mistake on this article. I have no way of fixing it. That will teach me to try to do too many things at one time.
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on October 24, 2009 at 06:28:39 PT
See, it is this kind of thinking I don't get!
Compassion for the suffering? What a load of bovine feces!He is concerned that someone may get hold of some reefer and get high! Become euphoric! Get too relaxed! Consume too many "Baby Snickers" in one sitting! Doze off during Rush or Glen!Go for an Autumn walk and enjoy the colors "too much"!These are good and legitimate reasons for people to suffer?Another, "Idiot Boy"!
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