The preliminary draft rules set released on January 5th, 2021 is an attack by corporate lobbyists on the Medical Cannabis Program in Maine.
We’ve known corporate cannabis has been planted in Maine for years now. Beginning under the radar, and now hiring the most expensive lobbyists and lawyers in Maine, these large scale national corporations are attempting to push out the competition. The competition being Maine’s small craft medical growers who have been operating in the state for over 10 years. Some of the more egregious attempts are to penalize caregivers for minor infractions from over regulation while creating economic barriers for entry to small and new businesses. Not to mention the implementation of privacy violation, and even more unnecessary documentation requirements. There is no hard evidence increased regulation (Track and Trace, or Seed-to-Sale Tracking) increases state taxes or black market sales. In fact, Maine has over 250 cannabis storefronts, many of which are family owned, which have decimated any black-market activity.
The Office of Marijuana Policy at the direction of corporate lobbyists (who have GREATLY influenced the Governor) are driving the bus to throw our entire program in the trash to “consolidate” the medical cannabis and adult use programs. The truth is they are trying to strangle the smaller cultivators because they know they can’t compete with the lower price points and greatly superior products. These smaller cultivators, no different than any craft industry, cannot compete with the resources of the national “brands”. These national cannabis companies have reputations of carrying below average product lines with multiple proven health and safety violations. But they have the money, and this is corporate America.
Maine’s medical cannabis program has been the best in the country since day one. Small craft cultivators have had the ability to thrive over the past few years, and the tax revenue the state has collected is proof positive. The level of quality is amazing and continually getting better. Maine has not experienced an increase in crime, including teen use and DUIs. The cost of the medicine is well affordable in correlation to the quality. Meanwhile, alcohol and drug abuse statistics in Maine continue to be at the top. Cannabis is by far the safest medical and recreational embellishment in the State, and country. Maine earned an overall “B” grade (85 out of 100) from Americans for Safe Access, the highest ranking on the organization’s state cannabis ranking.
Below is a statement from the Maine Craft Cannabis Association, one of the most trusted organizations in the State in fighting for the small craft cultivator.
RED ALERT! Access to cannabis from the provider of your choice is under assault. The Office of Marijuana Policy released an 81-page ‘update’ to the MMMP Rules that would destroy a program that has created so many jobs, supported Mainers’ health, and provided a resiliency to our state’s economy during a pandemic. We’ll have more opportunities to provide feedback to the OMP, but you have until Sunday, Jan 10th to submit ‘informal’ reactions to the rule. Major takeaways include:
- High hurdles to obtaining a medical card;
- At least a 50% increase in the cost of product for you;
- Tens of thousands of patients left with only pharmaceutical options or the absurdly overpriced and product-limited Adult Use market;
- Hundreds of small businesses shuttered overnight with their families’ and employees’ livelihoods ruined and no other jobs to turn to;
- Local donations, spending, and investment from those businesses drying up overnight, sucking the life out of rural areas with little else to support their economies;
- A dramatic decline in patient choice and a dramatic increase in healthcare cost for those without insurance;
- Affordable access a thing of the past as providers close who can’t afford the $50,000-$500,000 it will take for them to fit into this new corporatist scheme;
- …and a collapse in state tax revenue as cultivators are forced back into the underground market.
SO, what can you do?
- First, you can read the proposed rules, link in bio;
- Second, you can write your local Senator or House Representative and tell them your concerns;
- Third, you can write to the Health & Human Services Committee that oversees the MMMP and share concerns.
- Lastly, you can send us your email or a DM if you’d like to get more involved and contribute/volunteer/learn more about the process still ahead of us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like some help organizing your thoughts, here are some suggestions, and you can submit early feedback to the OMP using the link in our bio! Please consider including:
- Delete the requirement for a medical provider to be a specialist in the area of medicine they are certifying you for;
- Remove any new packaging rules that would contribute to unnecessary and terrible waste clogging Maine’s streets, waterways, trails, and dumps;
- Remove language prohibiting discounts and samples for patients;
- Remove the copied & pasted application process from the Adult Use program that lets the OMP weed out any business that doesn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend to comply;
- Remove labeling requirements that treat cannabis worse than toxic waste;
- Remove purchase limits for patients copied from the Adult Use program;
- Eliminate language giving the OMP free reign to invent violations and new rules arbitrarily as they see fit;
- Explicitly allow caregiver storefronts to deliver;
- Stop involving law enforcement in the enforcement of civil issues, which is only perpetuating the Drug War against Maine’s citizens;
- Allow caregivers to raise money the same way that Adult Use licensees are able to;
- Restrict OMP tracking to sales and revenues reporting only like all other legal businesses in the state of Maine;
- Eliminate the attempt to circumvent the Legislature and introduce backdoor mandatory testing;
- Eliminate language preventing caregiver businesses from contacting their opted-in customers via text and email.
- Eliminate language preventing caregivers from operating out of their homes and requiring a physical storefront!