Updates to Maine’s Cannabis Laws

Legislation Affecting Cannabis in Maine

Updated June 12, 2016

LD 726      “An Act To Increase Patient Safety in Maine’s Medical Marijuana Program”         Sponsored By: Senator SAVIELLO of Franklin                                                      Cosponsored By: Senator BRAKEY of Androscoggin; Senator HASKELL of Cumberland Public Hearing Testimony: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=726&PID=1456&snum=127&sec3#

Status: 

LD726 has been signed by the governor and will become law in August 2016.

LD 726, “An Act To Increase Patient Safety in Maine’s Medical Marijuana Program,” set standards for lab testing and labeling, match the definition of “incidental” marijuana in the law with the definition currently in the Rules, and provide state level immunity for hospitals that allow medical use of cannabis.

The original bill introduced by the Dispensary Association would have authorized the DHHS and law enforcement to do warrantless inspections of caregivers. This language was removed from the final bill.

The amended bill:

1. Allows licensing of medical marijuana testing facilities. Specifies that a caregiver or dispensary who labels cannabis for sale with information about cannabinoid content, contaminants, or potency, must have the info on the label verified by a licensed third -party testing lab.

2. Clarifies the definition of allowed “incidental marijuana” so the statute matches DHHS rules. This makes clear that cannabis defined as “incidental” and in need of further processing includes cannabis that is dried and harvested.

3. Provides state-level legal immunity to hospitals that allow medical use of cannabis in forms that are not smoked.

The final language can be found at: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/chapters/PUBLIC475.asp

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LD 867

An Act To Provide Tax Fairness and To Lower Medical Expenses for Patients under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act”

Bill Text: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?PID=1456&snum=127&paper=&paperld=l&ld=867

LD 867 is sponsored By: Senator LIBBY of Androscoggin

Cosponsored By: Senator BRAKEY of Androscoggin; Senator WILLETTE of Aroostook; Sen GERZOFSKY of Cumberland; Senator GRATWICK of Penobscot; Senator HASKELL of Cumberland; Representative MALABY of Hancock; Representative SANDERSON of Chelsea; Senator SAVIELLO of Franklin; Representative WARD of Dedham

Summary

LD 867, “An Act To Provide Tax Fairness and To Lower Medical Expenses for Patients under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act”, was passed by the House and Senate, then vetoed by the Governor. On the final day of session the Senate voted to uphold the Governor’s veto by a margin of 1 vote, killing the proposed legislation.

The bill would have allowed the operator of a dispensary to take a tax deduction for an amount equal to what is disallowed under Section 280E of IRS tax code.

The deduction would have been paid for out of the MMMP fund, which is primarily paid for by Caregiver registration fees, and could have exceeded annual licensing fee dispensaries are required to pay.


LD 1537

“An Act To Combat Drug Addiction through Enforcement, Prevention, Treatment and Recovery”

Bill Text: /www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/chapters/PUBLIC378.asp

Status: On January 19 “An Act To Combat Drug Addiction through Enforcement, Prevention, Treatment and Recovery” was signed into law. LD 1537 was sponsored by Senator Thibodeau, and rushed for approval through the House and Senate as an Emergency measure, necessary to address drug addiction by funding an opiate addiction treatment center and authorizing MDEA to hire ten new investigative agents.

In order to fund LD1537, the legislature approved an amendment introduced by Senator Hamper the day of the final vote to take $2.5 million from the Medical Marijuana Program Fund to cover costs of implementing the emergency legislation.

The bill received the fastest approval of any this session, being passed by the House and Senate by lunch and signed into law by the governor within the day.

Taking funds from the Medical Marijuana Program fund was legally authorized in LD1537 under section F-1, which specifies, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the State Controller shall transfer to the unappropriated surplus of the General Fund $725,000 no later than June 30, 2016 and $1,775,000 no later than June 30, 2017 from the Medical Use of Marijuana Fund, established in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 22, section 2430.”

From June 2013 to June 2014, the MMP fund took in $1,225,693 from Caregiver registration fees and $20,372 from Dispensary processing fees.

From June 2014 to December 2014 (the most recent date that reported numbers are available) the fund took in $735,950 from Caregiver registration fees.

Details on use of the MMP fund from January 2015 to present are expected to be released some time this summer from the DHHS.

According to information provided by the Office of Fiscal and Program Review at the April 7th Appropriations Committee meeting, there is over $3.5 million in the MMP fund, though there is a chance that the removal of funds resulting from LD 1537 has not been calculated into the total.

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LD 1628

An Act To Strengthen the Laws on Operating a Motor Vehicle under the Influence of Intoxicants

Bill text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/SP066101.asp

On Tuesday March 1st the House of Representatives approved a request by the Criminal Justice Committee to develop a bill to set a limit on how much THC in a person’s blood qualifies the driver as criminally operating under the influence.

The Criminal Justice committee held a Public Hearing the next day on LD 1628, “An Act To Strengthen the Laws on Operating a Motor Vehicle under the Influence of Intoxicants.” Only three people spoke in support of the bill – from the Maine Sheriff’s Association and two from the Secretary of State’s Office.

The Federal Office of National Drug Control Policy is pressing any state that passes legislation to regulate marijuana like alcohol and allow retail sale to set a 5 nanogram THC blood level to prove OUI charges. THC OUI blood test laws have been enacted in the Colorado, Washington, Illinois, and Arizona.

Last spring, the former toxicologist for the State Crime Lab submitted a letter to the Criminal Justice Committee that there is no scientific evidence of a relationship between blood THC levels and impairment, and implementation would be costly and create more legal problems than it solves, while criminalizing law-abiding citizens.

The Secretary of State to organized a work-group this summer to recommend legislation in 2016 in order to deal with anticipated problems resulting from regulating marijuana like alcohol.

In the report back by the Secretary of State in January included recommendations that the committee develop a bill to set a 0 to 7 ng THC blood-based OUI standard as a precautionary action to prepare for anticipated problems resulting from recreational use and retail sale of marijuana.

When looking for effective ways to evaluate impairment in the workplace, a February 2016 Report on Substance Abuse, Marijuana, Medical Marijuana, and the Maine Employer Substance Abuse by the Maine Department of Labor found that:

“Impairment is not correlated with dosage or system levels of some substances of abuse, including marijuana. There is no “impairment level” for THC as there is for blood alcohol, and testing for levels of cannabinoids in one’s bloodstream or urine is not effective in determining how much the person is impaired. Impairment is also as likely to be caused by other substances and, at times, by the proper dosages of prescribed drugs.

Maine law already allows law enforcement to charge a person with operating under the influence of marijuana, with the determination of OUI based on a combination of factors, including a manual field sobriety test. There is no blood test used to determine whether a person is driving impaired under the influence of marijuana, just as there’s no blood test to determine whether a person is driving under the influence of prescription painkillers.

Last year the Maine legislature voted to reject a bill that would have required blood testing of any driver involved in a fatal accident to determine if drugs were present in the system causing impairment. That bill was voted down because of the high cost of testing and the fact that most blood-based drug tests need to be sent out of state. If blood-based drug tests are going to be implemented to determine impairment, all potentially impairing medications need to be considered.

The House and Senate are expected to vote on this bill Thursday, March 3rd, so it will be important for Representatives and Senators to hear from their constituents asking them respectfully to vote no on LD1628 and take the time needed to find less costly and more effective ways to stop impaired driving.

At the Committee Work Session on March 3rd, many legislators raised concerns that the science isn’t there and this bill isn’t ready yet. An Ought Not To Pass motion was made, then overriden by a motion to Table the bill.

At the March 10th work session, the Criminal Justice Committee voted Majority Ought Not To Pass on LD1628, with the following legislators voting against the bill: Senator Gerzofsky, Representative Fowle, Rep Chenette, Rep Davitt, Rep Lajoie, Rep Nadeau, and Rep Warren.

A minority of 4 committee members voted Ought To Pass with the original bill language setting a 5ng THC OUI limit.

On March 30, the Senate voted 19 to 14 for the Minority Ought To Pass report to authorize THC OUI Blood testing.

The next day, the House of Representatives voted unanimously (under the hammer) in support of the Majority Ought Not To Pass report, with House Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee Representative Lori Fowle explaining that the science is not yet there, and this bill should not go into effect.

On April 1 the bill was sent to the Senate in non-concurrenct and Senator Rosen motioned to Insit on the prior Senate ought to pass vote. Within an hour the House motioned to Insist on its Ought not to pass motion and the bill is Dead in non-concurrence between House and Senate.

If Maine voters approve MPP’s proposed initiative to tax and regulate marijuana for recreational use in November, legislators will again have to take up legislation to impose a blood-based marijuana impairment standard in order to comply with federal priorities.


 

Department Public Hearing on Adding Opiate Addiction Treatment as a Qualifying Condition

On March 25 the legislative council voted down a request by Rep Russell to allow a public hearing by the legislature this session on a bill to add treatment of opiate addiction as a qualifying condition for medical use of cannabis.

Representative McCabe, Representative Gideon, and Senator Mason voted in support of the request.

While there is growing support for adding addiction treatment as a qualifying condition, council members expressed concern that this wasn’t a major enough issue to add so late in session and didn’t rise to the level of an “emergency.”

Although Maine legislators won’t hold a Hearing this session, there will be a Public Hearing before the DHHS on this matter.

The Department has accepted a petition to hold a hearing on adding “addiction to opiates and drugs derived from chemical synthesis” to the list of allowable medical conditions that may be treated with the medical use of marijuana.

A public hearing was held on Tuesday, April 19 and dozens of people turned out to speak in support of the proposal.

A decision has not yet been issued by the Commissioner of the Department.


Bills Passed in Spring 2015

LD 4   “An Act To Promote Industrial Hemp”                                                            Sponsored by Representative Deborah Sanderson Cosponsored By: Representative DUNPHY of Embden; Representative GOODE of Bangor; Senator HAMPER of Oxford; Representative O’CONNOR of Berwick; Representative PARRY of Arundel; Representative POULIOT of Augusta; Representative SHAW of Standish; Representative TIMBERLAKE of Turner                                                                                                                                   Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP035901.asp 

Summary:

LD 4, “An Act to Promote Industrial Hemp” became law on June 16, 2015, authorizing the Department of Agriculture to issue permits to allow cultivation of industrial hemp for research purposes.

In May 2016 the Department approved rules to allow cultivators to become licensed to grow industrial hemp.

The deadline to file an application to grow hemp in the 2016 season is July 1st.

The law requires seeds to come from a certified source, defined in Department Rule as as one that is certified according to AOSCA or other approved standards and comes from plants that were tested with a 0.3% THC content or less.

For the 2016 season, acceptable forms of certification could include a letter, form or other written verification that include third party testing results, with test results for the specific lot of seed to be planted, dates of the tests, and the name of the seed supplier and origin of the seed.

A $100 fee must be submitted with an application. If approved, there is a $500 license fee and $50/acre fee.

Complete Department of Agriculture rules on hemp cultivation and information on licensing can be found at: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/hemp/index.shtml

The deadline to file an application to grow hemp in the 2016 season is July 1st.

Information and application forms can be found at: www.maine.gov/dacf/php/hemp/documents/2016IndustrialHempLicenseLetter&Application.pdf


LD 557 

“An Act To Provide Reasonable Accommodations for School Attendance for Children Certified for the Medical Use of Marijuana”

 

Sponsored By: Representative SANDERSON of Chelsea. Cosponsored By: Representative CAMPBELL of Orrington; Representative DION of Portland; Representative DUNPHY of Embden; Representative GATTINE of Westbrook; Senator HAMPER of Oxford; Representative HARLOW of Portland; Representative HICKMAN of Winthrop; Representative MALABY of Hancock; Rep STETKIS of Canaan

Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP038101.asp  Public Hearing testimony: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?paper=HP0381&snum=127#

Summary: This bill allows a school to permit the possession and administration of marijuana for medical use for a child who is a student at the school by their parent, caregiver, or guardian on school grounds.

 Status: Majority Ought to Pass as Amended Vote by Education Committee May 14. Enacted by House and Senate. Vetoed by Governor. Veto overrode in House and Senate. Veto overridden in House and Senate. Bill became law October 17, 2015.

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Proposed Bills That Were Killed in Winter/Spring 2015

LD 5  “An Act To Increase the Limit on the Number of Patients a Primary Caregiver May Provide for under the Medical Marijuana Laws”                                                             Sponsored by Representative Diane Russell                                                                         Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP000801.asp

Public Hearing Testimony: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=5&PID=1456&snum=127&sec3#                                                                        Summary: This bill as amended would allow a registered caregiver to provide for up to 20 patients. It would not increase the number of plants allowed under cultivation.

Status: HHS Committee voted Majority Ought to Pass as Amended on May 27. Voted down in House and Senate June 18.

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LD 23  “An Act To Remove from the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act the Requirement That a Patient’s Medical Condition Be Debilitating”                                                  Sponsored by Representative Diane Russell                                                                         Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP002201.asp

Public Hearing Testimony: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?PID=1456&snum=127&paper=&paperld=l&ld=23#                                               Summary: This bill removes from the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act any limitation on the type of medical conditions for which patients may be certified by their physicians to engage in the medical use of marijuana.                                                                       Status: Committee voted Majority Ought To Pass on May 8.  House voted majority ought to pass for Engrossment (113-32). Bill failed in the Senate. 

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LD 35 “An Act To Provide Legal Protection to Hospitals where Admitted Qualifying Patients Use Smokeless Forms of Medical Marijuana”

Sponsored by Senator Eric Brakey Cosponsored By: Representative BEAVERS of South Berwick; Representative GATTINE of Westbrook; Senator HASKELL of Cumberland; Senator McCORMICK of Kennebec; Representative O’CONNOR of Berwick; Representative RUSSELL of Portland; Rep SANDERSON of Chelsea; Sen SAVIELLO of Franklin                                                                                                                                Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/SP001701.asp

Public Hearing Testimony: http://legislature.maine.gov/bills/display_ps.asp?paper=SP0017&snum=127&PID=1456#

Summary: This bill grants legal immunity to Maine hospitals that allow medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient in a form that is not smoked.

Status: Committee voted Unanimous Ought to Pass on May 27. LD 35 was unanimously Engrossed by the Senate and House and Enacted by the House. Senate voted for Enactment on June 16. Vetoed by Governor. Veto upheld by Senate. 

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LD167

“Act To Prohibit a Municipality from Holding a Referendum To Legalize the Recreational Use of Marijuana”

Sponsored by: Representative CAMPBELL of Newfield. Cosponsored by: Senator COLLINS of York; Senator CUSHING of Penobscot; Representative HOGAN of Old Orchard Beach; Representative KINNEY of Limington; Representative MASTRACCIO of Sanford; Representative SAUCIER of Presque Isle; Representative SHORT of Pittsfield; Senator VOLK of Cumberland; Senator WOODSOME of York

Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP012501.asp

Status: State&Local Government committee voted unanimously Ought Not To Pass at March 9 Work Session. Bill is dead.

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LD 266  “An Act To Allow Access for Law Enforcement Officers to the List of Registered Caregivers for Medical Marijuana Patients”                                                              Sponsored By: Representative BLUME of York. Cosponsored By: Senator BRAKEY of Androscoggin; Representative BURSTEIN of Lincolnville; Representative HYMANSON of York; Representative SCHNECK of Bangor                                                                           Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP018401.asp  Public Hearing Testimony: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=266&PID=1456&snum=127&sec3#                                                                    Summary: This bill permits the disclosure of the Department of Health and Human Services list of registered caregivers for medical marijuana patients in a law enforcement official’s jurisdiction to allow the law enforcement official to rule out a registered primary caregiver when verifying reports of criminal activity.                                                          Status: Committee voted unanimous ought not to pass, with plan for the HHS Committee to write a letter to the Department stating that they need to respond to law enforcement inquiries in a 24 hour period (unless the office is closed.)

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LD 292

“An Act To Require Hospitals To Allow Patients To Provide Their Own Medication”

Sponsored By: Senator PATRICK of Oxford.

Cosponsored By: Senator BRAKEY of Androscoggin; Senator DUTREMBLE of York; Representative GILBERT of Jay; Senator GRATWICK of Penobscot; Representative HERBIG of Belfast; Senator LIBBY of Androscoggin; Representative MASTRACCIO of Sanford; Senator MILLETT of Cumberland; Representative PETERSON of Rumford

Bill Text: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/SP010601.asp

Summary: This bill provides a process by which a patient admitted to a hospital or on observation status in a hospital may request and obtain approval to provide the patient’s own medication while in the hospital.

Status: Committee voted unanimous Ought Not To Pass. Bill is dead.

 

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LD 535                                                                                                                                “An Act To Amend the Laws Governing the Concealed Handguns Permit Application” Sponsored By: Representative DUNPHY of Embden. Cosponsored By: Senator BRAKEY of Androscoggin; Rep CHIPMAN of Portland; Rep FARRIN of Norridgewock; Rep HARLOW of Portland; Representative HOBBINS of Saco; Representative LONG of Sherman; Representative O’CONNOR of Berwick; Rep SANDERSON of Chelsea; Rep SIROCKI of Scarborough

Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP035901.asp

Summary: This bill removes questions about marijuana use from the concealed handguns permit application.

Testimony from the Public Hearing can be found at: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=535&PID=1456&snum=127&sec3#                                                                         Status: At the April 17 Work Session the Criminal Justice committee voted majority ought not to pass. The bill was killed in the Senate.

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LD 560                                                                                                                           “An Act Regarding Patient Information Under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana” Act”Sponsored By: Representative RUSSELL of Portland                                    Cosponsored By: Senator BRAKEY of Androscoggin; Representative DION of Portland; Representative O’CONNOR of Berwick                                                                               Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP038401.asp Public Hearing Testimony: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=560&PID=1456&snum=127&sec3#                                                                      Summary: This bill, as amended, prohibits the Department of Health and Human Services from storing or retaining in electronic format, or requiring health care providers to transmit over the Internet, personally identifying patient information related to the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act, including the name, address and date of birth.

Status: HHS Committee voted unanimous ought to pass as amended.  Bill has been unanimously Engrossed by the House and Senate and Enacted by House. Senate voted for Enactment on June 16. Vetoed by Governor. Veto overrode in House, upheld in Senate.

 

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LD 752   “An Act To Permit Medical Marijuana Cultivation by Incapacitated Adults” Sponsored By: Representative DUNPHY of Embden.  Cosponsored By: Senator BRAKEY of Androscoggin; Representative HARLOW of Portland; Representative MALABY of Hancock; Representative O’CONNOR of Berwick; Representative RUSSELL of Portland; Representative RYKERSON of Kittery; Representative SANDERSON of ChelseaBill Text:

Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP050501.asp Public Hearing Testimony: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=752&PID=1456&snum=127&sec3#                                                                    Summary: This bill allows a qualifying patient who is an incapacitated adult to possess marijuana and cultivate marijuana for that incapacitated adult’s own use.

Status: Committee voted unanimous ought to pass as amended on May 27.  Bill has been Engrossed by the House and Senate, and Enacted by the House. Senate voted for Enactment on June 16. Vetoed by Governor. Veto overrode in House. Next step veto override in Senate.

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LD 766

“An Act To Require a Medical Marijuana Primary Caregiver Cultivating in a Residential Building To Obtain an Electrical Permit”                                                                        Sponsored By: Representative COREY of Windham.  Cosponsored By: Representative BEAR of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians; Representative BEAVERS of South Berwick; Senator CUSHING of Penobscot; Senator DUTREMBLE of York; Representative GOLDEN of Lewiston;Representative HERRICK of Paris; Representative KINNEY of Limington; Representative MALABY of Hancock; Representative RUSSELL of Portland       Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP051901.asp Public Hearing Testimony: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=752&PID=1456&snum=127&sec3#                                                                    Summary: This bill amends the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act to require, beginning January 2, 2016, a primary caregiver to obtain an electrical permit from an electrical inspector prior to cultivating in a residential building.                                                     Status:  Committee voted unanimous ought not to pass May 8.

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LD 867 “An Act To Provide Tax Fairness and To Lower Medical Expenses for Patients under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act”

Sponsored By: Senator LIBBY of Androscoggin

Cosponsored By: Senator BRAKEY of Androscoggin; Senator WILLETTE of Aroostook; Sen GERZOFSKY of Cumberland; Senator GRATWICK of Penobscot; Senator HASKELL of Cumberland; Representative MALABY of Hancock; Representative SANDERSON of Chelsea; Senator SAVIELLO of Franklin; Representative WARD of Dedham

Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/SP031202.asp

Public Hearing Testimony: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?PID=0&snum=127&paper=&paperld=l&ld=867#

Summary: This bill allows a taxpayer, either an individual or corporation that operates a registered dispensary of medical marijuana pursuant to the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act to deduct from income the costs of operating that registered dispensary. The bill also allows a qualified patient to deduct from income the costs of medical marijuana purchased by that qualifying patient.

Status: Majority ought to pass vote by Taxation Committee on May 21. 

Bill has been unanimously Engrossed in House and Senate and Enacted in House, Placed on Special Appropriations Table in Senate June 9.

Next step Appropriations Committe vote.

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LD 993

“Resolve, To Allow a Federally Recognized Indian Tribe To Conduct a Pilot Project in Hemp Cultivation”
Sponsored By:Representative DANA of the Passamaquoddy Tribe
Cosponsored By:Representative BEAR of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians
Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP068801.asp
Summary: This resolve directs the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry upon application to issue a license to conduct a pilot project in industrial hemp cultivation to a federally recognized Indian tribe.                                                                             Status: Committee voted unanimous ought not to pass on May 12 at request of bill sponsor.

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LD 1058 “An Act Regarding Medical Marijuana Registered Testing Laboratories” Sponsored By: Representative SANDERSON of Chelsea  Cosponsored By: Representative BUCKLAND of Farmington; Representative FARNSWORTH of Portland;Senator HAMPER of Oxford; Representative PARRY of Arundel; Representative STANLEY of Medway             Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP072701.asp      Summary: This bill establishes in the medical use of marijuana laws the registration of testing laboratories that perform testing on marijuana samples for the cannabinoid profile and possible contaminants. Registered testing laboratories must be located in the State, and the laboratories and their principal officers, board members, agents and employees are given the same immunity from prosecution, search, seizure and penalty currently granted to registered dispensaries. The DHHS must make an application form and fees for registered laboratories by December 15, 2015.                                                            Status: Unanimous Ought Not To Pass – combined with LD1059.

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LD 1059  “An Act Relating to Marijuana Testing Facilities”

Sponsored By: Representative FARNSWORTH of Portland. Cosponsored By: Rep HAMANN of South Portland; Rep HERBIG of Belfast; Rep SANDERSON of Chelsea

Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP072801.asp

Public Hearing Testimony: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=1059&PID=1456&snum=127&sec3#

Summary: This bill allows for the operation of marijuana testing facilities. These facilities may possess marijuana regulated under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act. Dispensaries and registered primary caregivers may own and operate marijuana testing facilities for research and development purposes. If a label for medical marijuana refers to potency or cannabinoid profile, it must be verified by a testing facility.

Status:  Majority ought to pass vote from the Committee at May 8 Work Session, only one member opposed. Engrossed unanimously by House and Senate, and Enacted by House. Senate voted for Enactment on June 16. Vetoed by Governor. Veto overrode in House. Veto upheld in Senate.

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LD 1201

“An Act To Standardize and Simplify the Process for Employers To Have a Drug-free Workplace Policy”

Sponsored by Senator Andre Cushing. Cosponsored by Senator BRAKEY of Androscoggin; Representative CHACE of Durham; Senator COLLINS of York; Senator HAMPER of Oxford; Senator MASON of Androscoggin; Senator ROSEN of Hancock; President THIBODEAU of Waldo; Representative TIMBERLAKE of Turner; Rep WARD of Dedham                                                                                                                               Bill Text: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/SP042801.asp

Public Hearing Testimony: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=1201&PID=1456&snum=127&sec3#

Summary: Current law requires employers that want to provide a drug-free workplace by testing applicants or employees for substance abuse to develop and file a policy with the Department of Labor. This bill provides employers with a single, consistent model policy.

The bill requires the DHHS and the Department of Labor to work together to adopt rules to establish the model policy by July 1, 2016. The bill also requires the Commissioner of Labor to convene a study group to study issues related to the legalization of marijuana and the model policy. The bill directs the commissioner to report to the Joint Standing Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development and authorizes the joint standing committee to report out a bill to the Second Regular Session of the 127th Legislature related to the commissioner’s report.

Status: Committee voted Ought Not To Pass, May 21. Bill is dead.

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LD 1258

“An Act To Amend the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act with Regard to Good Business Practices”

Sponsored By: Representative SANDERSON of Chelsea

Cosponsored By: Senator BRAKEY of Androscoggin; Representative MALABY of Hancock; Representative O’CONNOR of Berwick; Representative PARRY of Arundel; Representative SIROCKI of Scarborough; Representative WARREN of Hallowell

Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP085801.asp

Public Hearing Testimony: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=1258&PID=1456&snum=127&sec3#

Summary: This bill amends the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act in the following ways.

1. It clarifies that a primary caregiver may cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants for each of up to 5 qualifying patients.

2. It allows a primary caregiver to employ or contract with more than one person to assist with the duties required of that primary caregiver. The Department of Health and Human Services is required to adopt rules regarding the licensing of these assistants.

3. It allows the Department of Health and Human Services to make onsite assessments of registered primary caregivers who cultivate marijuana for 3 or more registered patients at a time to ensure compliance.

4. It allows a registered primary caregiver to transfer excess prepared marijuana to a qualifying patient for reasonable compensation.

5. It provides that a primary caregiver or registered dispensary that receives compensation from a qualifying patient for the costs associated with cultivating marijuana for that qualifying patient or assisting that qualifying patient is required to register as a seller with the State Tax Assessor and collect and remit sales tax. Under the current law, marijuana is specifically excluded from the sales tax exemption for medicines.

Status: Committee voted unanimous ought not to pass at request of bill sponsor on June 3.

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LD 1380

“An Act To Legalize, Tax and Regulate Marijuana”

Sponsored by: : Representative RUSSELL of Portland

Cosponsored By: Representative BEAVERS of South Berwick; Representative DION of Portland; Representative DUNPHY of Embden; Representative HAMANN of South Portland;Senator HASKELL of Cumberland; Representative MAREAN of Hollis; Representative McCABE of Skowhegan; Senator SAVIELLO of Franklin; Senator VALENTINO of York

Bill Text: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP093501.asp

Status: Bill received majority ought not to pass vote by Criminal Justice committee. Passed Engrossment in House. Killed in Senate.

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LD 1401 “An Act To Allow for and Regulate the Adult Use of Cannabis”

Sponsored By: Representative DION of Portland Cosponsored By: Senator GERZOFSKY of Cumberland; Representative HAMANN of South Portland; Senator HASKELL of Cumberland; Representative HAWKE of Boothbay Harbor; Representative O’CONNOR of Berwick; Representative PIERCE of Dresden; Representative SAWICKI of Auburn

Bill text: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP095001.asp

Summary: This bill would create a structure to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana for recreational use, with a limit on licenses. The bill also would place a limit on the total number of Caregivers allowed to cultivate in Maine, authorize no-notice inspections, and direct the Department to do rulemaking around revoking caregiver registrations.

Status: Criminal Justice Committee voted majority ought not to pass May 27. Killed in House.

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LD 1320 “An Act To Amend the Motor Vehicle Laws”

Sponsored By: Representative McLEAN of Gorham Cosponsored By: Representative DOORE of Augusta; Representative GILLWAY of Searsport; Representative GOLDEN of Lewiston; Senator HASKELL of Cumberland; Representative HOGAN of Old Orchard Beach; Representative PARRY of Arundel; Representative POWERS of Naples; Senator ROSEN of Hancock

Bill text: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/HP089801.asp

Public Hearing Testimony: www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=1320&PID=1456&snum=127&sec3#

Summary: This bill makes the operation of a motor vehicle while having a THC level of 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of blood a criminal offense, authorizes the Secretary of State to suspend administratively the license of a person who operates a motor vehicle with a THC level of 5 nanograms or more per liter of blood and sanctions the use of approved preliminary breath-testing devices by law enforcement officers in determining whether a person operated a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicants.

Status: At the Work Session on May 11 the Transporation committee voted to table this bill and send it with a letter to the Criminal Justice committee, asking for their recommendation on THC Blood Testing to determine OUIs.

Representative Russell is submitting an after-deadline bill to turn the Marijuana OUI issue into a study/work group, to return with recommendations for how to implement it next session.

On May 26, the Criminal Justice committee voted send a letter to
the Department of Transportation recommending they form a working group
this summer to put together recommendations for a bill regarding
Marijuana OUI’s that the legislature would take up in 2016. 

 

LD 1392 “An Act To Amend the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act”                       Sponsored by Representative Deborah Sanderson (DHHS Bill)

Bill Text: http://legislature.maine.gov/bills/display_ps.asp?paper=HP0942&snum=127&PID=1456

Summary: This bill makes the following changes to the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act. It provides that:

1. The DHHS is permitted to obtain intelligence and investigative record information that is otherwise classified for use in issuing or revoking caregiver registration card.

2. The term “person” means an individual, corporation, facility, institution or public or private agency;

3. The term “primary caregiver” means an individual, employee of that individual or an employee of a hospice provider that provides care for a qualifying patient. A corporation, facility, institution or public or private agency may not be a primary caregiver;

4. The definition of “registered patient” is repealed and all references to the concept of registering a patient have been removed from the Act;

5. The definition of “registry identification card” is amended to include a medical provider-issued medical certification card, department-issued caregiver certification card and department-issued dispensary certification card;

6. A qualifying patient may only accept excess prepared marijuana from that qualifying patient’s designated dispensary or caregiver;

7. A primary caregiver may only dispense 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana to each designated patient in a 15-day period;

8. A municipal official furthering the business of a municipality may enter a patient’s cultivation facility;

9. A caregiver who is cultivating only for household or family members must register with the DHHS;

10. A visiting qualifying patient must be in this State not less than 24 consecutive hours;

11. The language allowing the DHHS to establish a sliding scale of application and renewal fees based on a registered patient’s family income and status as a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States is removed.

12. Failure of an applicant to comply with the Act or rules adopted pursuant to the Act or a determination by the Department of Health and Human Services that an applicant has acted in bad faith with respect to the laws and rules governing medical use of marijuana is grounds for denial of an application or renewal of a registry identification card;

13. The name of a complainant who reports a violation of the Act is confidential;

14. When a registry identification card is denied or revoked on one occasion the individual may not reapply for one year; when a registry identification card is denied or revoked on 2 occasions the individual may not reapply for 2 years; and when a registry identification card is denied or revoked on 3 occasions the individual may not receive another registry identification card;

15. The effective date for the revocation of a caregiver certification card is 10 days after the notice date or 10 days after the right to appeal is exhausted, whichever is later. The caregiver must notify the caregiver’s qualifying patients and dispose of the caregiver’s medical marijuana;

16. A primary caregiver and a registered dispensary are subject to mandatory fines for violations of the provisions of the Act or for failing to register as a primary caregiver or dispensary;

17. The Office of the Attorney General may seek an injunction to require a registered primary caregiver, a registered dispensary, a person who fails to register as a primary caregiver and who engages in conduct that is only authorized for a registered primary caregiver or a person or entity that fails to register as a dispensary and that engages in conduct that is only authorized for a registered dispensary to comply with the Act. The District Court may order the registered primary caregiver, the registered dispensary or the person or entity to pay the costs of the investigation and the costs of suit, including attorney’s fees;

18. The Office of the Attorney General may seek court action against a registered primary caregiver, a registered dispensary or a person or entity for violation of an injunction, including but not limited to imposition of a fine; and

19. The department’s burden of proof for a violation of the Act is a preponderance of the evidence.

Bill Text: http://legislature.maine.gov/bills/display_ps.asp?paper=HP0942&snum=127&PID=1456

Status: Slight Majority Ought To Pass as Amended vote (7-5) at May 29 work session. Major sections of the original bill were removed by the amendment, including language that would require registration of any family member caregivers, mandatory fines for rule violations, and a ban on donations to patients outside the designated maximum of 5 patient. 

The bill still includes problematic changes the law that would require household member family members to register as caregivers, with a $240+ annual fee plus background check cost.

LD1392 creates new civil fines and criminal penalties that could result in a year in jail for a person accused of engaging in conduct only allowed by a registered caregiver. It is unclear what would qualify as “conduct only allowed by a registered caregiver” that isn’t already prohibited by law.

House of Representatives voted against Engrossment of LD1392 on June 17. Bill was voted down and killed in the Senate on June 18.

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New Best Management Practices

The proposed Best Management Practices from the Department of Agriculture and DHHS are expected to be released this summer. The BMP’s regulate pesticide application, and include guidelines on cultivation and record keeping. According to Department Representatives, all Caregivers would be required to comply with the new BMPs.

View the proposed BMPs:

BPCProposedBMPsFeb2015

For More Info Email:  hillarylister@mainematters.net

MaineCannabis.wordpress.com

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One thought on “Updates to Maine’s Cannabis Laws

  1. Hillary, I didn’t know of your prophecies. To post on May 20, 2013, the legislation put forth in 2015…
    So glad your out there. You are one of the true hearts. See ya tomorrow. glenn

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