Augusta, ME: Voters decided on Tuesday in favor of a statewide ballot proposal expanding the state's decade-old medical marijuana law.
Nearly 60 percent of state voters endorsed Question 5: the Maine Marijuana Medical Act, which amends existing state law by: establishing a confidential patient registry; expanding the list of qualifying conditions for which a physician may recommend medicinal cannabis; and by allowing for the creation of state-licensed nonprofit dispensaries to assist in the distribution of marijuana to qualified patients.
The measure was opposed primarily by law enforcement agencies, including the Maine Prosecutors Association and the Maine Chiefs of Police Association.
Tuesday's vote marks the first time that citizens have voted specifically on the question of allowing for state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. Two other states, New Mexico and Rhode Island, have previously passed legislation allowing for state licensed marijuana distribution centers.
Medical marijuana dispensaries are presently operating in California and Colorado, but these operations are not licensed by the state.
In 1999, 61 percent of state voters approved the physician-supervised use of medical marijuana. However, the law did not establish a state identification registry for qualified patients, nor did it address regulating the distribution of medical marijuana.
Under state law, patients with a doctor's permission may legally possess up to two and one-half ounces of marijuana and/or up to three mature marijuana plants for medicinal purposes.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500, or visit: http://www.mainepatientsrights.org.