ME Cannabis Caregivers Rally Against Tobacco Licenses

0

State regulators say a tobacco license and storefront are required to sell products to patients.

MAINE, Maine – Medical marijuana caregivers oppose the requirement to obtain a tobacco license to continue selling their products to patients.

The Office of Cannabis Policy said products, including rolling papers, used to ingest or smoke cannabis are also used to consume tobacco and fall under state law.

Caregivers said the requirements will limit options for sick patients and even put some small producers out of business.

Kaylee Brown, 11, has Dravet Syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy that is resistant to most medications. For 9 years, medical marijuana has significantly reduced his seizures, and his mother Samantha works to make sure it stays that way.

“His life depends on it, and I’m going to fight and make it right. And I’m not going away,” Brown said.

Brown has joined more than a dozen medical cannabis patients and caregivers in protesting the requirement to obtain a tobacco license to sell some of their products.

“They’re over-regulating our caregivers and our choices out of business. We won’t have anywhere to go except where the government wants us to go,” Brown added.

Last month, the OCP sent these updated guidelines to caregivers, stating that products such as rolling papers and pipes used to consume cannabis are also used to consume tobacco and require a tobacco license under of state law. To obtain this license, caregivers must have a physical storefront.

The Maine Cannabis Coalitions and other organizations said there are about 3,000 caregivers in the state, and the majority operate from their homes or small farms, like caregiver Amy McFarland.

She believes caregivers are exempt under current medical cannabis law, but fears they will be forced out of the market.

“They favor corporate interests, larger dispensaries and those who want to come here and capitalize on our recreational market,” said Amy McFarland, a medical cannabis caregiver.

Sharon Huntley, director of communications for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, which oversees OCP, released a statement:

“The guidance note distributed October 7 by the Office of Cannabis Policy does not in any way change the policy, application, or interpretation of current state law. The purpose of the October 7 memo was to clarify current state law for registrants and licensees who had wondered how to interpret the law for their business practice Tobacco products are defined in Title 22, Section 1551, which became law in 2017 under Maine’s Tobacco Act 21. Products used in the consumption of cannabis are also used in the consumption of tobacco, and it has been true since the passage of PL 2017, c.308 that they fall under the legal definition of tobacco products, Huntley said.

“With respect to the sale of tobacco products, current law requires that anyone engaged in the sale of tobacco products in the State of Maine possess a tobacco retail license, which is issued by the Department of Health and Human Services. As a prerequisite to obtaining a Tobacco Retail License, you must maintain a physical storefront. In addition, laws applicable to tobacco retail license holders prohibit the sale and delivery of tobacco products to persons under the age of 21. Tobacco policy enforcement is conducted by the Attorney General’s Office.

In response to ongoing questions from some registrants and licensees of cannabis programs regarding the application of tobacco laws to their business activities, the Office of Cannabis Policy worked with the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Health and Human Services to release a memo, posted Oct. 7, outlining current state law for registrants and licensees. As I said earlier, this memo did not change the policy, application, or interpretation of current state law. The Office of Cannabis Policy has been working with lawmakers and cannabis industry stakeholders since the last legislative session to address this confusion surrounding current state law and will continue to do so in the months ahead. . »

More articles about NEWS CENTER Maine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Share.

Comments are closed.