portland press herald

Maine: Marijuana Doctor Who Held Clinics In Hotels Is Reprimanded, Fined


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A doctor who held a medical marijuana authorization clinic at a hotel and failed to adequately document examinations has been reprimanded and fined by the board that licenses physicians in Maine.

The board announced on Monday that Dr. William Ortiz accepted an agreement under which he'll pay a $2,000 fine and reimburse the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine $1,412 for its investigation, reports CBS News.

According to the board, Ortiz saw 59 patients during a "medical seminar" at a hotel in Orono, Maine, in March 2013, but there was no documentation of an exam for 44 of them. Ortiz charged the patients $200 cash to issue a three-month medical marijuana certificate, then $175 more for a one-year certificate on a follow-up visit, the reprimand said, reports David Hench at the Portland Press Herald.

The board also said Ortiz kept "odd hours," including appointments at 3 a.m.

Ortiz, who has been licensed to practice medicine in Maine since 2012, promised not to engaqe in such conduct in the future. His practice has offices in Caribou, Maine, and in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Maine: DHHS Says Medical Marijuana Can't Be Used For Tourette's


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Patients in Maine won't be legally allowed to use medical marijuana to treat Tourette's syndrome, state public health officials decided this week.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) denied a request by Dr. Dustin Sulak to add Tourette's to the list of medical conditions which qualify patients for medicinal cannabis, reports The Associated Press.

Dr. Sulak said a letter signed by DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew arrived on Christmas Eve, denying the request without offering any explanation for the decision.

Sulak and his patient, Peter Hasty, had testified at a November hearing that cannabis helped Hasty's muscular tics caused by Tourette's.

Hasty said that if he couldn't use cannabis to treat several muscular tics caused by Tourette's, he would be confined to his home in Ellsworth, reports Joe Lawlor at the Morning Sentinel.

"I would not be able to go out the door," he said. "It has has vastly improved my qualify of life."

"Tourette's syndrome does have human studies showing that (marijuana) helps, and it's not like there's other good options," Dr. Sulak said.

Maine: Portland Voters Approve Marijuana Legalization With Landslide Vote


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Portland, Maine on Tuesday became the first city on the East Coast to legalize marijuana, with voters overwhelmingly approving ballot Question 1, an ordinance removing all penalties for adult possession of small amounts of cannabis.

Unofficial totals showed the proposal passing with 67 percent of the vote, 9,921 to 4,823, reports Randy Billings at the Portland Press Herald.

The city ordinance allows people 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, and is seen by many activists as a foot in the door to statewide legalization. The immediate effects, however, are unclear.

Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck has already said that regardless of the vote, officers will continue enforcing Maine state law, under which possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis can result in fines of $350 to $1,000, along with a civil summons. Selling or providing pot to others can result in criminal charges.

The city should respect the voters and not arrest or fine adults for marijuana possession, according to David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "We call on city officials to stop the bleeding," Boyer said. "It's time for the state of Maine to follow Portland."

Maine: Ballot Initiative To Legalize Marijuana In Portland One Step Closer


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A measure to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults in Portland, Maine, is likely to be on the ballot this fall.

A coalition led by the Portland Green Party on Thursday morning handed in petitions with more than 3,200 signatures to city officials, the first step in getting the proposal on the November ballot, reports the Portland Press Herald. The city requires 1,500 valid signatures for citizen initiatives to qualify for the ballot.

The proposal would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, while prohibiting its use in public spaces such as parks, schools, and sidewalks.

The law is vague on how adults could actually get marijuana, but according to Tom MacMillan, chair of the Portland Green Independent Committee, it's "likely" to be available through existing medicinal cannabis dispensaries (which we don't see as likely at all, unless and until the law changes on a statewide level). Distribution would be left up to the Portland City Council if the ordinance passes, MacMillan said.

Legalizing pot could lead to less use by young people, because it could eliminate the black market and make buying cannabis subject to the same type of age checks as alcohol purchases, MacMillan said.

Maine: Medical Marijuana Lobbyist Wins Dinner With Governor

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A political lobbyist for a medical marijuana trade group in Maine will be dining with Governor Paul LePage after making the winning bid at a benefit auction for a dinner for four with the governor.

Paul McCarrier, a lobbyist for Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, bid $1,000 at a Thursday auction to benefit the Legislative Memorial Scholarship Fund, report Steve Mistler and Michael Shepherd at the Portland Press Herald.

McCarrier told the Press Herald he wouldn't be lobbying Gov. LePage. He said he made the bid on behalf of a MMC group member who supports the governor and has been asking to get him a meeting with LePage.

The winning bid came in after others, including Democratic lawmakers, drove the bidding up to $875. When McCarrier bid $1,000, nobody made a counter bid.

"We were tempted to keep going," said Ericka Dodge, spokeswoman for the Senate Democrats," but we figured the marijuana folks deserved it."

"That's a whole scholarship," said Rep. Stacey Guerin (R-Glenblum), who ran the auction. Guerin said McCarrier "made quite a name for himself."

(Illustration: The Weed Blog)

Maine: Concerns Raised About Pesticides On Medical Marijuana

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Maine Department of Health on Monday said its investigation of Wellness Connection of Maine, the operator of four of the state's eight medical marijuana dispensaries, had revealed 20 violations of state law and program rules, including pesticide use and security breaches.

But on Tuesday, the Portland Press Herald, the same newspaper which had run the headline "State: Marijuana supplier used pesticides, violated rules" ran another story by the same reporter, Michael Shepherd, headlined "Dangers of pesticides on cannabis pretty hazy."

It seems five of the nine pesticides that state officials say were used by the medical marijuana dispensary group contain active ingredients that are safe for many uses and are federally approved for tobacco, according to Maine's official pesticide toxicologist.

However, the state still says it can't vouch for the pesticides' safety on marijuana, because not much is known about the chemicals' interaction with cannabis when smoked.

Regulators don't set standards for pesticide use on marijuana, because it is illegal under federal law; that's why Maine prohibits all pesticides in its medical marijuana program.

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