ME: State Trying To Rein In Large Medical Marijuana Growers

Photo Credit: Chris Skelton

State lawmakers want to overhaul the state’s medical marijuana caregiver program, exploring new ways to license and regulate the state’s growing number of large and increasingly sophisticated caregiver businesses.

The health and human services committee heard testimony on seven medical marijuana bills Wednesday, ranging from a plan to tax adult-use cannabis to fund medical cannabis testing and labeling to a bill allowing opioid addicts to qualify for medical cannabis certification.

Some lawmakers, like Rep. Paul Chace of Durham, want to crack down on caregivers, allowing them to only treat five patients a month and outlawing retail shops, among other restrictions, to clean up what he calls “the Wild, Wild West.”

Others, like Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, want to allow large or collective caregiver operations to become dispensaries. The license would cost more, and comes with more rules, but it would let the caregiver serve more patients, have a bigger grow and hire more workers.

An alternative would be to rein in most caregivers but give more freedoms to superstars that do well on state inspections, said Rep. Patricia Hymanson, D-York, allowing them to do things such as serve more patients, open a shop, buy and buy or sell with other caregivers.