There have been a number of questions surrounding medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, since the new law was passed in November.
At the convention in Portland nearly 250 people came out to hear the ins and outs of the law, and learn how they can get involved in growing or selling medical marijuana reported wchs6.com
Television host Montel Williams was the keynote speaker. Suffering from multiple sclerosis, Williams has been an advocate for the uses of marijuana for medical patients.
Williams uses marijuana to help ease symptoms of multiple sclerosis including the chronic nerve pain and said "people like him shouldn't be treated as criminals for using marijuana for pain control for a variety of diseases and conditions."
The conference was held to attempt to answer questions about what the law means for patients, health care providers, municipalities, law enforcement agencies and others.
A long time advocate of medicinal marijuana use, Montel Williams has worked diligently in his efforts to provide a face and voice to the debate on the medical use of this illegal herb. He spoke at the conference about Maine's new law allowing medical marijuana dispensaries yesterday at the University of Southern Maine in hopes that he could be a voice for patients and caregivers who are often not heard in these public debates and conferences around the country on the legality and validity of the use of this form of medication.
When Williams pain level became so intolerable he was in tears, Cumberland County Sheriff
Mark Dion shouted from the audience "why don't you just take your medicine", the audience applauded and stood as Montel sat down, pulled out a marijuana cigarette and fired it up, lighting up the approval meter of the attendee's present.
Montel said his pain level dropped tremendously and if not for the use of the drug he wouldn't have been able to bear the nerve pain he was enduring prior to and while on stage speaking to the citizens of Maine.
Williams received the The Edward M. Brecher Award
for Achievement in the Field of Journalism in 2009 for his accomplishments and commitment to reporting on drug policy reform. This award honors those in the media who question official drug war propaganda.
Maine voters last November approved a ballot measure that expands their existing medical marijuana law allowing for retail dispensaries where medical marijuana patients can legally buy marijuana.
Maine is the fifth state
to provide for dispensaries of medical grade marijuana for persons with debilitating and chronic medical conditions.
These not-for-profit dispensaries will be licensed and regulated by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services but specific agency procedures and funding are not yet in place.
A division of the Health and Human Services Department is accepting applications for dispensaries until June 25. Only applications from non-profit corporations will be accepted, which is causing some concern among users and suppliers on the ease of availability, distribution and access for medicinal users that do not drive if the total number of dispensaries licensed are kept at a minimum.
Maine has allowed prescribing, and limited possession, of medical marijuana since 1999
but the law lacked any distribution mechanism and questions arose of noncompliance with federal law and of how patients could legally obtain the prescribed marijuana.
In October the Obama administration announced
that it would halt prosecution of medical marijuana users and caregivers if they were in compliance with their state's law.