Maine was the 5th state to provide for dispensaries of medical grade marijuana for persons with debilitating and chronic medical conditions and is the halfway mark in a series of articles examining the various medical marijuana programs throughout the United States.
By providing this type of information, grassroots organizations such as UtahCARE – Cannabis Awareness, Respect and Education – work to forward the movement to legalizing cannabis throughout Utah.
These articles will be sent to every Utah lawmaker after January 1, 2014 in order to kick off the new campaign, “Educate in order to Medicate”, sponsored by UtahCARE. All subsequent responses from Utah politicians will be addressed by this writer in new articles, with details on the cannabis movement included as well. Those articles may be accessed through this link.
Ballot Question 2 was approved November 2, 1999 by 61% of Maine voters and became effective December 22, 1999. It served to remove state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess an oral or written “professional opinion” from their physician that he or she “might benefit from the medical use of marijuana.”
The law did not establish a state-run patient registry.
The approved diagnosis for treatment with medical marijuana in Maine include epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures; Glaucoma; Multiple Sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity; and nausea or vomiting as a result of AIDS or cancer chemotherapy.
Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than one and one-quarter (1.25) ounces of usable marijuana, and may cultivate no more than six marijuana plants, of which no more than three may be mature.
Those patients who possess greater amounts of marijuana than allowed by law are afforded a “simple defense” to a charge of marijuana possession.
The law was then amended with Senate Bill 611 on April 2, 2002 which increased the amount of useable marijuana a person may possess from one and one-quarter (1.25) ounces to two and one-half (2.5) ounces.
Another amendment was approved on November 3, 2009 by 59% of voters when Question 5 changed the list of approved conditions changed to include cancer, Glaucoma, HIV, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s, nail-patella syndrome, chronic intractable pain, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe nausea, seizures (epilepsy), severe and persistent muscle spasms, and Multiple Sclerosis.
It also required the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to establish a registry identification program for patients and caregivers and stipulated provisions for the operation of nonprofit dispensaries.
The latest amendment (LD 1062) was enacted without the Governor’s signature on June 26, 2013 and served to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of approved conditions for medical marijuana use.
By sending this type of information to Utah lawmakers on a regular and consistent basis, grassroots organizations such as UtahCARE will start 2014 with their campaign to “Educate in order to Medicate” with the end goal of legalizing cannabis throughout the state.
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