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Becoming a Medical Marijuana Patient in Maine

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Summary
To qualify for legal protections in Maine, a patient must have a doctor's certification that the patient has one of the eligible conditions specified by state law (see Eligible Conditions below).

A qualifying patient may possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and cultivate up to six (6) cannabis plants or designate a caregiver or dispensary to do so on the patient's behalf. If you are a registered patient and elect to grow your own medicine or have someone do it for you, you must indicate this on the application for your ID.

Registration with the Maine Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP) is voluntary and not necessary to have qualified status for legal protections. Patients who possess a medical marijuana registry ID card issued by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services are required to have the card with them whenever they are in possession of cannabis. State law enforcement recognizes the card as proof of patient status.

Patients who are not registered must have their original physician certification form and a Maine-issued photo ID and present both to law enforcement on request.

Caregivers are required to register with the MMMP unless the caregiver and patient live in the same household or are members of the same family. Caregivers may not have a criminal conviction and are subject to a background check.

If a patient or caregiver is found in possession of more than the limit set by law, the excess cannabis must be forfeit to law enforcement, but the patient or caregiver may present the medical purpose of the cannabis as a legal defense if charged.

Minor patients must have their parent or legal guardian apply as caregiver on their behalf.

What's Legal
Qualifying patients or their caregivers may possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana. If a patient does not designate a primary caregiver or dispensary to grow cannabis, then the patient may have up to 6 plants only 3 of which may be mature, flowering plants.

Eligible Conditions
  • cancer
  • glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • hepatitis C
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease)
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • nail-patella syndrome (NPS or Turner-Kiser syndrome)
  • pain that has not responded to ordinary medical or surgical measures for more than 6 months
  • cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • severe nausea
  • seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
  • severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
  • post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders and other diseases causing severe and persistent muscle spasms (including Chron's)
  • any other medical condition approved by the Department of Health and Human Services
Application Process
The patient registry identification card is voluntary and free. Program application, forms, and instructions for patients, caregivers and physicians can be found online at:

Maine Medical use of Marijuana - DLRS; Maine DHHS

The Maine Medical Marijuana Program is administered by the Licensing and Regulatory Services office of DHHS:

Department of Health and Human Services

41 Anthony Avenue

# 11 State House Station

Augusta, Maine 04333

Tel: (207) 287-4325; Toll Free: 1-855-355-4325

Fax: (207) 287-2671

Email:?dlrsmmp.dhhs@maine.gov

The registry ID card and the physician certification form expire on the same date. The expiration date is determined by the physician but can be no more than a year from issue.

Doctor
A licensed doctor (an MD or a DO) may recommend marijuana within the context of a bona fide physician-patient relationship. A doctor's recommendation must take the form of a written statement that in the doctor's professional opinion, "a patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of marijuana to treat or alleviate the patient's debilitating medical condition." The written recommendation must also specify which of the eligible debilitating medical condition the doctor is recommending medical marijuana for. The MMMP?physician certification form is on the DHSS website listed above.

Access/Caregivers/Dispensaries
Caregivers must register with the State and receive an ID card before they can possess and cultivate marijuana unless they live in the same household as the patient or are a member of the same family as the patient.

Caregivers may possess up to 2.5 ounces and 6 plants in an enclosed and locked facility for each patient the caregiver assists. A person cannot be a caregiver for more than 5 patients and 6 plants per patient. Caregivers may receive compensation for the costs of their services.

Maine has a licensed system of medical cannabis dispensaries. These dispensaries must be non-profit, licensed by the state and follow a set of strict regulations. A dispensary may not give you more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis in a 15-day period. Local ordinances may also determine how dispensaries can operate near you.

Patient collectives are prohibited. Patients must cultivate for themselves or designate a registered caregiver or licensed dispensary to do it for them. A registered caregiver may enlist the assistance of another registered caregiver in tending plants for up to two weeks by providing written notice to DHHS.

Caregivers who are cultivating pay a registration fee of $300 per patient (up to 5) and $31 for the criminal background check. Caregivers who do not cultivate pay no registration fee.

Consumption
You are not allowed to possess cannabis on school grounds. Do not smoke in public or while operating a vehicle.

Age Limits
A minor-patient's application must include parental consent. You will need to submit copies of any documents establishing parental relationship or legal guardianship with the application.

Discrimination
Maine protects patients and caregivers from being discriminated against by schools, employers, or landlords because of your status as a qualifying patient or caregiver. These protections do not apply if they would cause a school, employer, or landlord to risk losing federal funding or cause them to violate federal law. If smoking is prohibited in an area, including an apartment, then this will apply to medical cannabis as well as to tobacco.

Confidentiality
The list of patients maintained by the State is confidential, but DHHS may tell a law enforcement officer if a patient has a valid registry ID.

Out of State Patients
A visiting medical cannabis patient with an equivalent ID issued by another state is protected by Maine's medical cannabis laws. This protection is temporary so if you are a patient who plans on staying in Maine, then you must get a Maine patient ID.

Under Maine law, registered patients and caregivers are protected from arrest and prosecution. If a registered patient or caregiver is prosecuted on state charges, the patient or caregiver is entitled to present an affirmative defense that the cannabis was for medical purpose.

Finding a Doctor for a Recommendation
First and foremost, be forthright with your current doctor. Maine law specifies that your certifying doctor must have a bona fide physician-patient relationship with you and make a full assessment of your medical history and current condition.

If you are already medicating with cannabis on your own, tell your doctor specifically what on the Maine list of qualifying conditions you treat with cannabis and how it helps you. Honestly describe the amount of cannabis you use, how often, and by what delivery method.

Your doctor's recommendation must be in writing and certify that you have a qualifying debilitating medical condition that is likely to be benefit from the medical use of cannabis. You must have a bona fide physician-patient relationship with your doctor, meaning you are under that doctor's primary care or specialized care for your debilitating condition; the relationship may not be limited to writing a recommendation. Your doctor must be licensed to practice medicine in the state of Maine at the time of the recommendation.

There is nothing wrong with using medical cannabis or discussing it with your doctor. A federal court has ruled that, under the First Amendment, doctors may not be punished by the DEA for recommending medical cannabis. But if you have a qualifying condition and your doctor does not issue medical cannabis recommendations, you may need to visit a medical cannabis specialist, though state law says you must be under the care of the recommending physician for more than the purpose of being certified.

Medical Cannabis Specialists
Before consulting a medical cannabis specialist, patients should already have medical records of diagnosis and treatment of a qualifying condition under Maine law. Be aware that:
  • Not all doctors are qualified to make recommendations.
  • The doctor will want to see your medical records.
  • It can cost more than $100 to see a medical cannabis specialist;
  • Paying the money does not guarantee that you will get a recommendation.
If you have more questions on how to become a legal patient, contact ASA: Medical Marijuana - Americans for Safe Access.

Obtaining a Registry Identification Card
The patient registry identification card is voluntary and free. Patients who possess a medical marijuana registry ID card issued by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services are required to have the card with them whenver they are in possession of cannabis. State law enforcement recognizes the card as proof of patient status, but registration is not necessary to qualify for legal protections.

Program application, forms, and instructions for patients, caregivers and physicians can be found online at:

Maine Medical use of Marijuana - DLRS; Maine DHHS

The Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program is administered by the Licensing and Regulatory Services office of DHHS:

Department of Health and Human Services

41 Anthony Avenue

# 11 State House Station

Augusta, Maine 04333

Tel: (207) 287-4325; Toll Free: 1-855-355-4325

Fax: (207) 287-2671

Email:?dlrsmmp.dhhs@maine.gov

Applications are to be submitted by mail. The registry ID card and the physician certification form expire on the same date. The expiration date is determined by the physician but can be no more than a year from issue.

Qualified Doctor
Your physician can only recommend medical cannabis after completing a full assessment of your medical history and current condition as part of a bona-fide physician-patient relationship. Your physician must be licensed to practice in Maine. Other licensed health professionals such as chiropractors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners cannot sign the documentation.

Renewals
Maine registry cards are good for one year, or less, depending on the evaluating physician.

Registry Card Changes or Loss
If there has been a change in your name, address, telephone number, physician, or caregiver, or if you have lost your registry card, contact DHHS at (207) 287-4325 for a replacement.

Becoming a Legal Caregiver
Patients must cultivate for themselves or designate a registered caregiver or licensed dispensary to do it for them. Caregivers must register with the State and receive an ID card before they can possess and cultivate marijuana unless they live in the same household as the patient or are a member of the same family as the patient.

Caregivers may possess up to 2.5 ounces and 6 plants in an enclosed and locked facility for each patient the caregiver assists. A person cannot be a caregiver for more than 5 patients and 6 plants per patient. Caregivers may receive compensation for the costs of their services.

Caregivers who are cultivating pay a registration fee of $300 per patient (up to 5) and $31 for the criminal background check. Caregivers who do not cultivate pay no registration fee.

Obtaining Cannabis for Qualified Patients
Patients may cultivate cannabis, designate someone to do it for them, or obtain their medicine from a licensed dispensary.

Source: ASA: Becoming a Patient in Maine