By Steve Elliott
The state of Maine has, for the first time, hired an outside group to inspect medical marijuana growing operations, a move being heavily criticized by patient advocates who say the process is poorly planned. The inspections have already begun, with many caregivers being quite surprised when they happen?
The Maine Department of Human Services last month signed a one-year contract with the Maine Sheriffs' Association, of all groups, agreeing to pay them $167,000 to inspect cannabis growing operations across the state, reports Michael Shepherd at CentralMaine.com.
“The department has contracted with the sheriffs association to provide follow-up investigations on complaints that are medical marijuana related,” DHHS spokesman David Sorensen said Friday, reports Nok-Noi Ricker at the Bangor Daily News. “They are not current deputies; they are retired law enforcement personnel," he claimed. "They are essentially investigators. They are not acting as law enforcement agents.”
The inspections are primarily for caregivers, said DHHS spokesman David Sorenson. Caregivers, under Maine's medical marijuana law, are allowed to grow cannabis for up to five patients who have doctors' authorizations to use the herb medicinally.