To Amend Maine's Medical Marijuana Law

Last updated: Jul 9, 2018

Details about this bill
Category: Marijuana
Status: Vetoed
Sponsor: Representative Deb Sanderson, House 88
Session: 128
Bill #: LD 1539

Position:

Monitoring.

Summary:

This bill amends the laws governing the cultivation, possession and use of medical marijuana. It:

1. Amends definitions to add terms and to expand upon or provide clarity for existing terms;

2. Amends the qualifying condition of intractable pain to include pain that a medical provider determines is not managed effectively by prescription narcotics and allows a medical provider the discretion to issue a written certification for any medical condition that the physician believes may be alleviated by the patient's using marijuana for medical use. It also requires consultation with a minimum of 3 medical professionals, one of whom may be selected by the petitioner, prior to accepting or denying a petition to add a debilitating medical condition as a qualifying condition;

3. Replaces the limit of 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana that may be dispensed to a qualifying patient who is a Maine resident during a 15-day period with a limit of no more than 2 pounds in one transfer;

4. Allows a qualifying patient who is cultivating marijuana to furnish seeds and plants to another qualifying patient;

5. Permits a qualifying patient to designate more than one primary caregiver to assist the patient; the additional primary caregivers may not cultivate marijuana for the patient;

6. Prohibits a visiting qualifying patient, who is not a resident of Maine, from cultivating marijuana;

7. Permits a primary caregiver designated to cultivate marijuana to furnish seeds and plants to an authorized person;

8. Increases the number of employees that a registered cultivating primary caregiver may employ. A primary caregiver designated to cultivate can employ one person for each registry identification card the caregiver is issued;

9. Permits a primary caregiver designated to cultivate marijuana to dispose of marijuana by transferring the marijuana to a designated primary caregiver; current law allows the transfer to a dispensary;

10. Allows for certain authorized transfers of marijuana by a primary caregiver designated to cultivate marijuana for reasonable compensation;

11. Allows a primary caregiver who is assisting no more than 2 patients who are members of the primary caregiver’s household or family to not register with the department;

12. Authorizes a primary caregiver designated to cultivate marijuana to cultivate up to 6 mature marijuana plants per registry identification card. The maximum number of plants allowed for cultivation is the same as in current law;

13. Removes the limit of 2 1/2 ounces of prepared marijuana and establishes the allowable amount of harvested marijuana to be up to 8 pounds that may be possessed by a patient or authorized person on behalf of a patient. It also establishes the allowable amount of marijuana to be up to 8 pounds per registry identification card for a designated primary caregiver required to register, no more than 8 pounds per patient, up to 2 patients, for a primary caregiver not required to register and 8 pounds per patient for a dispensary designated by a patient;

14. Establishes tracking and reporting requirements for primary caregivers and dispensaries;

15. Permits the Department of Health and Human Services to inspect areas related to marijuana for medical use to assess compliance with the laws regulating marijuana;

16. Reduces the review period from 10 days to 3 business days for a 2nd physician consultation in order for a qualifying patient who is a minor to obtain a written certification when there is a list of consulting physicians and permits a physician to proceed with certification for a minor in the absence of a consulting physician list maintained by the department. It allows the Medical Use of Marijuana Fund to be used at the department’s discretion to reimburse families for the cost of the required consultation by a 2nd physician;

17. Extends the immunity existing for dispensary employees, principal officers and board members to registered primary caregivers and their employees;

18. Authorizes the department, in addition to law enforcement agencies, to remove marijuana determined to be in excess of allowable limits;

19. Permits the department to establish a period of time when persons who have had authorizations denied or revoked are ineligible for reauthorization;

20. Requires a cardholder to notify the department when the information on the card issued by the department is inaccurate or changes;

21. Amends fees for various registrations;

22. Adds a sanction for a person found to be in possession of a registry identification card issued to another person; and

23. Provides for an opportunity for an informal hearing process for specified persons aggrieved by a department enforcement action.