Changes to Maine’s Medical Marijuana Law
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 08/13/2011 in Medical Marijuana Laws
Starting on September 28, 2011, the “Act to Amend the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act To Protect Patient Privacy” will make several changes to Maine’s existing medical marijuana law. Here are some of the important highlights released by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services:
- Registration by patients will be optional. Those who choose to register in order to obtain a Registry Identification Card will not be asked to pay a fee. In addition, no medical information regarding patients will be requested.
- Medical information removed from state database. Within 60 days following the September 28 effective date, the Department will delete all medical information about patients contained in its database.
- Currently registered patients may request removal from the state registry. For a period of 6 months after the September 28 effective date, registered patients may request, that their names be removed from the registry and that all their information be destroyed if they no longer wish to voluntarily register.
- NEW physician’s written certification required. If patients choose not to register, they will be required to carry a new physician written certification, which must be provided by the physician on tamper proof paper and a state-issued photo identification as proof of lawful medical use of marijuana. The Department will no longer be able to confirm for law enforcement a patient’s lawful participation in the program. There may be more direct contact for patients with law enforcement if they choose not to register.
- Three exceptions to caregiver registration. The following caregivers will not be required to register (All other primary caregivers must register with the department):
1. A primary caregiver designated to cultivate for a qualifying patient if that qualifying patient is a member of the household (as defined below) of that primary caregiver;
2. Two primary caregivers who are qualifying patients, if those primary caregivers are members of the same household (as defined below) and assist one another with cultivation; or
3. A primary caregiver who cultivates for a qualifying patient if that qualifying patient is a member of the family (as defined below) of that primary caregiver.
- Caregiver collectives are prohibited.
- No food license for family or household caregivers. Primary caregivers preparing food containing marijuana for a patient who is a member of the family or household are not required to obtain a food establishment license.
- Source of marijuana. Qualifying patients will no longer be required to notify the Department regarding their source of marijuana. There is no change to the limitation that patients may either grow their own marijuana, obtain it from a caregiver or from a dispensary. If a qualifying patient gets some of his or her marijuana from a primary caregiver and some of it from a registered dispensary, no more than 2.5 ounces in total may be dispensed in a 15-day period.
- Designation forms issued by patients. The Department will develop standard caregiver/dispensary designation forms and post them on the website. Qualifying patients will give signed and dated designation forms to those individuals they designate as their primary caregiver or to the patient’s designated dispensary.
- Designation forms are proof of authorized conduct. The department-approved designation forms will be the only documents recognized by law enforcement as proof of lawful participation in the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program by caregivers and dispensaries, if the individual does not have a registry identification card. The designation documents must be in the possession of primary caregivers and dispensaries and shown to law enforcement upon request.
- No change in lawful amount. There were no changes in the amount of marijuana that may be possessed or dispensed.
- Excess marijuana: seizure and forfeiture. Excess marijuana for purposes of seizure by law enforcement is defined, as are the penalties for possession. Repeat forfeiture can result in the loss of a Registry Identification Card.
- Number of seedlings limited. The legislation allows the Department to commence rulemaking to specify the number of seedlings that may be possessed for each qualifying patient after the effective date of the new law.
- Minor children. The Department will no longer be required to make decisions regarding the use of marijuana for minor children. The minor’s treating physician with consult with an authorized physician who has agreed to serve as a ‘consulting physician’ regarding the medical use of marijuana by minor patients. The Department will maintain a list of those who may be willing to serve as consulting physicians. The consulting physician, after reviewing the patient’s record or examining the patient, will send a report to the minor’s treating physician.