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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Maine has Turned to California for Help Setting up a Medical Marijuana Program

Maine has turned to California for help setting up a medical marijuana program; the hope is that they will be able to implement what has worked well in the past. With over 10 years of experience in California they have had plenty of time to make mistakes and to have hopefully learned from them; considering that we are on the edge of what appears to be full on legalization in the next five years. Maine proceeds cautiously into this new territory, hopes to figure out a system that addresses both public safety and the needs of those recommended patients for marijuana. Maine is trying to avoid the craziness that exists out west, dispensaries opening and closing daily and it doesn't seem like any one really understands what is happening - in short the west has become a mess. A task force has been set up, "figuring out how many medical marijuana patients there are in Maine and how many distribution clinics or dispensaries are needed to serve them. At least one member of the panel said he's not sure if the state needs one, 10 or 50", according to ABC News. The task force is composed of 14 members, they will determine rules effective within 120 days; the task force hopes to be able to take every factor into account in order to give the voters exactly what they voted for. Becky DeKeuster, of the Berkeley Patients Group said, "This should not have a negative connotation. This is a medicine. This is essentially a pharmacy with a community center component in our model".

If marijuana is going to be considered a medicine then it needs to be held to the same standards as every other pharmaceutical, the same laws and restrictions should apply to weed as they do to Vicodin. There is no other way to make this a legitimate program, therein lies a huge problem with the legality of marijuana; some are trying to have a medicine and others are trying to have a recreational drug, like alcohol. The same people who are helping Maine set up a medical marijuana program are also trying to have full on legalization voted on in the next year in California. It is noteworthy that Maine is taking the time to create a successful program, but it seems like all of this is a slippery slope and no matter what, all the factors present cannot be addressed. "This task force is not going to be able to accomplish the dotting of every 'I' and the crossing of every 'T', but addressing the issues ahead of time is crucial so that you don't end up with a wild-west situation", DeKeuster said.

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