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Medical Marijuana Caregivers Operating at Their Own Risk

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Augusta - Are Mainer's who participate in Maine's medical marijuana program breaking federal law, even if their conduct is protected by Maine law? The U.S. Attorney says yes.

Nearly 60% of Mainer's voted in favor of the Maine medical marijuana law back in 2009. Now, U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty says in a letter to lawmakers and the Attorney General, those participating in the program are violating federal law regardless of how citizens voted or what state law says. And, he adds, the federal law will be vigorously enforced.

"The federal drug laws, they take very seriously. I take those very seriously too and they've expressed those intentions to enforce those," says Maine Attorney General William Schneider.

Under federal law, marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug. The U.S. Attorney's letter came in response to Representative Deb Sanderson's bill that would make registering with the state optional for patients but caregivers would still be required to do so. "Federal law is federal law and state law is state law. As a legislator, we have the right to institute the laws that we feel are best for our citizens and our citizens clearly want this," Representaive Sanderson said on Friday.

But the U.S. Attorney sent a very clear message. If you're a caregiver in Maine you do so at your own risk. "Well anyone using marijuana in Maine is operating at some risk of prosecution by the federal government," Schneider says.

"We will enforce the Controlled Substances Act vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law," Delahanty said in his letter. This is causing some sleepless nights for caregivers who say they're not breaking the law here in Maine. "I feel threatened," says caregiver and patient Jon Steward, "I feel intimidated and I want to know why it is that we can't seem to have we the people rule ourselves. We said it was okay."

Jacob McClure is on the board of directors for the Maine Medical Marijuana Caregivers Association and says some caregivers are considering giving up rather than risk going to prison. "I think to see people being intimidated into ceasing and desisting what they're doing that's helping other people in their community, I think that's a real shame," he says.

And if the federal Drug Enforcement Agency came in to Maine and arrested a caregiver who was abiding by Maine law, would there be anything the state government could do for them? "Nothing," says Schneider. "They're on their own."

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: wabi.tv
Author: Rob Poindexter
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Community Broadcasting Service
Website: Medical Marijuana Caregivers Operating At Their Own Risk
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