New Medical Marijuana Rules in Maine cause Controversy
After a public hearing Monday on a controversial new rules for medical marijuana, Rep. Deb Sanderson, R-Chelsea, said the state should not implement rules that are more restrictive and divergent from the intent of the citizen's initiative legalizing medical marijuana passed in 2009.
"Hopefully the department will take into serious consideration much of the compelling testimony that was put before them," Sanderson said Tuesday. The plan now is to meet with the stakeholders, "folks that are in the industry, patients, physicians," Sanderson said, "so when the rules do come out in their final form, they're a clear reflection of the intent of the legislation."
"Over 175 people packed the State House on Monday to express discontent, grief and sometimes anger with proposed restrictions on the ability of patients and caregivers to legally cultivate medical marijuana," said Hillary Lister, an advocate for medical marijuana use in Maine.
In a statement, Lister said the proposed rules "would severely restrict the ability of patients to legally cultivate their medicine outdoors. Cultivation would not be allowed within 25 feet of any property boundary, and plants would be required to be enclosed by an 8 foot privacy fence, with motion sensitive lighting. The site would have to be at residence where the grower is living, and the department could require unspecified 'other security measures' at any time."
But Sanderson said the 8-foot rule would put an extra financial burden on people, when the standard fence is six feet.
Dr. Dustin Sulak, medical director at Maine Integrative Healthcare questioned some proposals as well, saying, "For example, in a neighborhood with no fences higher than 6 feet, an 8-foot fence would stand out like a target. Additionally, erecting such a fence would likely be cost prohibitive to many patients. Requiring such a fence be at least 25 feet from property boundary lines would likely discriminate against patients with small lots. Security lights may interrupt the flowering cycle of cannabis plants that require periods of darkness and compromise the quality of the medicine."
You can be sure politicians and officials in the state will continue to haggle over medical cannabis regulations for many months to come.
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