Pot Backers Seek Support from State Legislature
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Pot Backers Seek Support from State Legislature
Posted by CN Staff on November 30, 2010 at 18:38:44 PT
By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff
Source: Bangor Daily News
Augusta, Maine -- A group of residents angry with the Legislature’s latest changes to the state’s medical marijuana law are planning a quiet but concerted effort today to persuade the new crop of lawmakers in Augusta to make changes.According to Cynthia Rosen of Washington, the residents are seeking either a moratorium on or repeal of a law that ORIGINATED from a bill titled “An Act to Amend the Maine Medical Marijuana Act,” which was passed overwhelmingly in April of this year.
The bill, which was known in legislative circles as LD 1811, followed a citizen-initiated referendum in November 2009 that was meant to increase access to marijuana for people with medical symptoms that could be eased by the drug. According to Rosen and others, the Legislature changed the intent of the initiative with passage of LD 1811.“Medical marijuana patients and providers have been doing what they’ve been doing for over a decade,” said Rosen, who along with her husband is a medical marijuana provider. “Under the amendment [by the Legislature] they’ll be made criminals.”Among other things, Rosen objects to the requirement that medical marijuana patients and providers register with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. That registration requires the patient to let the state have access to medical records and in the case of providers, inspect the crop at will. Any medical marijuana patient who doesn’t register by Jan. 1 will be considered in violation of the law, according to Rosen, a tea party activist who said her major reason for spearheading today’s effort is because she believes the Legislature overstepped its authority by defying the will of the voters.She said today’s action would consist of a group of people from across the state either soliciting support from legislators in the State House one-on-one or making contact through mail or electronic means. The goal is to find lawmakers who will support a bill to repeal or overhaul LD 1811.“There are a whole host of reasons why people would not want to register,” she said. “By registering you are basically confessing to doing something that the federal government deems illegal.”Donald Christen, founder of a pro-marijuana group called Maine Vocals, who has been a proponent of loosening the state’s medical marijuana laws, said he supports today’s campaign. Among other things, Christen argues that the new law puts restrictions on the amount a provider can possess that are out of line with what a typical marijuana plant can produce. He also objects to the registration requirement, because he said it will discourage people from receiving the relief they are entitled to.“The whole crux of the medical marijuana law is that it is a medical necessity,” he said. “Too many people don’t understand that. For a lot of people, if it was known that they asked for that medical marijuana card, they’d lose their jobs.”Shenna Bellows, executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, said her group would not be directly involved in today’s campaign, though it has “opposed LD 1811 from the start.”“We’re hearing from numerous patients who suffer from cancer or HIV-AIDS who fear they’ll lose their medication under this new law,” she said. “The MCLU is wholeheartedly supporting a variety of grassroots efforts that are springing up all over the place to do things such as end mandatory patient registration.”Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)Author: Christopher Cousins, BDN StaffPublished: November 30, 2010Copyright: 2010 Bangor Daily News Inc.Website: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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