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Maine Medical Marijuana Caregivers Hit with Strict New Guidelines Leading to Concern

Maine is cracking down on how caregivers grow and distribute medical marijuana, allowing surprise inspections and implementing a plant-to-patient tracking system.

The state Department of Health and Human Services issued new rules Wednesday that tighten Maine’s fast-growing and changing medical marijuana program.

The department didn’t issue a statement on the rules, which take effect Feb. 1, and Maine’s medical marijuana community spent the day scanning the document trying to figure out which changes represent a new state policy and which ones are simply legislative housekeeping. The department didn’t reply to a request for comment.

The Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, a state-based trade group, is reviewing the new rules, and plans to hold an educational forum for members to talk about their impact on Nov. 18, said Catherine Lewis, the chairwoman of the group’s board and a consultant who works with new caregivers trying to break into the Maine market.

The group’s Facebook page was buzzing Wednesday, but mostly with questions about what the new rules say.

Currently, eight state-licensed dispensaries and at least 3,200 caregivers serve more than 50,000 patients with a qualifying medical condition, such as cancer, PTSD, or intractable pain. That is a 36 percent year-over-year jump in patient certifications, and a 44 percent jump in caregivers. [Read more at Portland Press Herald]

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