Today: Following Referendum, Maine Legislature Passes Law Setting up Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Press Release April 6, 2010
Media Contact

Jill Harris at (212)-613-8050 or Tony Newman at (646) 335-5384

AUGUSTA, ME — Today, the Maine State legislature passed a law setting up, for the first time, a system of legal access to medical marijuana for patients with debilitating and chronic conditions. The law now goes to the Governor and he is expected to sign it.

“Today, Maine becomes the latest state in the country to set up a legal distribution system for medical marijuana, and is now a leader in providing patients with a legal and dignified way to obtain their medicine,” said Jill Harris, Managing Director of Public Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance, which supported the referendum and the legislation. “The legislature has followed the will of the voters in Maine who overwhelmingly voted for such a system last November.”

The law follows on the heels of a referendum, passed by the voters last November, establishing a system of legal access for medical marijuana patients. Maine voters legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes by referendum in 1999, but until now patients have had no way to legally obtain their medicine. The law establishes a system of non-profit dispensaries, and patients or their caregivers are also permitted to cultivate marijuana for the patients’ medical use.

The bill initially permits up to eight dispensaries in the state, and sets up a process for establishing fees for dispensaries, patients and caregivers.

The Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s leading drug policy reform organization, supported November’s referendum.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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