Maine Moves To Make Medical Marijuana More Accessible

maine marijuana legalization LD 1229

A bill to ease Maine's regulations on the medical use of marijuana faces a legislative hearing Monday.

State Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea, said the requirement that all those using marijuana for medical reasons register with the state was never the intention of voters. The current system was approved in a referendum two years ago.

Sanderson's bill would make registration with the state optional. She said the state should accept a doctor's recommendation on whether the use of marijuana is the right treatment and said patients should not have to sign a release that allows state officials to discuss their condition with doctors.

"Your medical record is personal information between you and your doctor," she said.

Sanderson's bill would also prevent cities and towns from placing unreasonable requirements on caregivers and patients.

Jonathan Leavitt, the head of Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, supports the bill and agrees that the rules now in place are too restrictive.

Sanderson's bill, he said, "would put a check on the administrative end of this thing that has caused all sorts of problems, with rules, red tape and burdens," Leavitt said.

A hearing on her bill, L.D. 1296, will be held before the Legislature's Committee on Health and Human Services at 1 p.m.

A separate bill unveiled last week would legalize personal use and private and commercial cultivation of marijuana, and tax consumer purchases at 7 percent.