Saturday, December 7, 2013
AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Health and Human Services released a set of proposed new rules for the state's medical marijuana program today, in response to a law passed last year that liberalized state laws.
The proposed rules would be the first update since 2010, the year the program was implemented by the department after Maine citizens voted in 2009 to establish state-licensed dispensaries to distribute marijuana and a state identification system to keep track of patients in the program, who must have one or more of a list of specific conditions.
The liberalizing bill, LD 1296, signed in 2011 by Gov. Paul LePage and sponsored by Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea, made the identification system optional, among other changes.
The state has been broadly working under that law since last year, but without an updated rule set.
"We've been doing it voluntarily, but we have to have rules that tell me and the people that work with me how we implement this," said John Thiele, medical marijuana program director for DHHS's Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services.
The deadline for public comment on proposed changes is Aug. 23.
This story will be updated.